aterialism is a co-conspirator in America's Drug War, for it teaches us to ignore the obvious benefits of psychoactive drug use -- namely the blessed relief from "self" that it provides -- and urges us instead to look for chemical signs that a drug is actually working. This reductionist bias explains why Forbes magazine could publish an article in June 2021 with the extraordinarily naive title, "Can Laughing Gas (Nitrous Oxide) Help People With Treatment-Resistant Depression?"
A depressed person would never think to ask such a question. Of course it could help, namely by providing a vacation from destructive self-introspection. Also, the mere anticipation of that periodic vacation would be a mood-boosting godsend. Whether laughing gas would be a panacea for a given condition is another question of course, but scientists have lost all touch with living, breathing humans when they find themselves asking if "laughing gas" could possibly (maybe, just maybe) help the depressed! They have lost all their psychological common sense when they think this way.
I want to turn to them and say: "Look, give me the damn nitrous oxide and you guys continue looking for your angels on the head of a pin! I'm happy if the nitrous oxide merely works for me: I for one don't need it to REALLY work in some reductionist definition of that term."
The blindness of reductionist science would be funny to me, except that this way of thinking works in tandem with the Drug War to prevent folks like myself from accessing godsend medicines. On the one hand, we have the Drug Warrior demonizing godsend substances, chiefly by ignoring everything about them except their negative effects (potential or otherwise). On the other hand, we have the materialist demanding that these substances pass reductionist muster before they can be considered to be effective for fighting depression and improving cerebral functioning in general.
But worst of all, reductionist science has a body count. The search for a "real" cause of depression (a reductionist cause) led to the creation of the most dependency-causing substances in pharmacological history -- the modern anti-depressant -- which 1 in 4 American women must take every day of their life, for the rest of their lives (source: Julie Holland). Moreover, these anti-depressants were never created for long-term use and are now being found to conduce to anhedonia in long-term users, a tendency that I can affirm from personal experience.
So not only has reductionist science failed to help me with my depression, but they have made me an eternal ward of the healthcare state. Far from recognizing this fact, however, the pharmaceutical companies that tout these reductionist "remedies" constantly remind us through their well-paid surrogates that we have a positive DUTY to "take our meds." And so when it comes to demonized meds, you can be denied employment for using them, but when it comes to Big Pharma meds, you can be considered a bad patient if you FAIL to use them.
So let us get this straight: Reductionist science has created the greatest mass chemical dependency in human history, and yet at the same time, they tell me that I cannot use substances like "laughing gas" because they may not work for fighting depression??? Is this the kind of science in which the depressed should be placing their faith, one that suspends them like Tantalus, with a host of medical godsends dangling forever just out of reach of our desperately grasping hands?
So if you're depressed like myself and you expected science to protect you from the substance-demonizing Drug War, think again. Neither the Drug Warrior nor the scientist want you to use effective medicines. They both would much rather have you use addictive medicines whose use benefits Big Pharma and whose efficacy can be supported by pseudo-scientific appeals to reductionist chemistry, this despite the fact that America remains the most depressed country in the world thanks to this very approach to creating and approving psychoactive medicine.
Materialist reductionism, in short, helps give a plausible (if pseudo-scientific) veneer to Big Pharma's attempt to render the world chemically dependent on their grossly ineffective nostrums.
Psychiatry's penchant for reductionist medicine is understandable, not just on account of "physics envy" but because the Drug War outlaws all useful medicines wherewith the doctor might have otherwise helped their clients in a non-reductionist manner. So the field makes a virtue of necessity by referring to reductionist cures as "real" cures and holistic cures as "crutches." Thus, if you follow in the footsteps of Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin and show a partiality for opium, you are using a crutch: but if you use a Big Pharma pill that purports (falsely) to fix a chemical imbalance, then you are using a REAL cure.
But if this is so, then God save us from real cures! Like "scientific" Big Pharma meds, for instance, which have rendered 1 in 4 American women dependent upon them for life, while yet conducing to anhedonia in long-term users.
The psychiatric pill mill is not simply made up of bad medicine (as Robert Whitaker has shown), but bad philosophy as well. For if a reductionist says they're going to cure my depression, they must first tell me what they mean by the word "cure." If they mean that their drugs will make me a good consumer who can tolerate "second best" in life, then they have a different definition of "cure" than I do. My definition of cure is self-actualization and the ability to live large. So in the end, the scientific arguments about what SSRIs can (and can't) do are superfluous: we can say before the researchers even enter the laboratory that they can't cure MY depression, for the simple reason that our definitions of the word "cure" do not coincide. But psychiatry is a one-size-fits-all venture these days, and so a client who demands more than the habit-forming status quo is just a troublemaker, someone to be dismissed (ironically enough) as an "addictive personality."
Notice how psychiatry has created a variety of newspeak in an attempt to tacitly promote its philosophically untenable claims: "addictive personality," "crutch," and "real" cure.
I'm an addictive personality if I'm not satisfied with the niggardly offerings of one-size-fits-all psychiatry.
I'm using a crutch if my drug of choice does not work in a materialist reductionist fashion, according to which patients are just interchangeable widgets.
I don't have a "real" pharmacological solution if its efficacy cannot be proven to the satisfaction of materialist reductionists.
By means of this loaded terminology, psychiatry tries to bamboozle clients into "making do" with the shamefully limited options of the drug-war pharmacy, whereas, if the doctors had the patients' interests at heart, they would be in the forefront of a nationwide move to end the Drug War and promote education over incarceration, finally putting an end to the absurd status quo in which politicians lie about psychoactive medicine, falsely claiming that medicines that have inspired entire religions in the past somehow have no positive uses whatsoever for anyone, anywhere in the 21st century.
In this way, the Drug War is not merely an attack on religion, but it is worse: it is an attack on the wellspring and fountainhead of the religious impulse itself, which is no doubt another reason for its popularity among WASP conservatives, who are ready to put the brakes on all competition to Christianity by any means necessary, even at the expense of America's basic principles of natural law and freedom of religion.
Author's Follow-up: January 18, 2023
Materialism is, in turn, aided and abetted by Freudian psychology. Both of these approaches encourage the doctor to ignore obvious outward signs and to search instead for inner issues. So, if I want to use laughing gas to cheer myself up, the materialist will say, "Not so fast, let me see how lab animals respond, chemically speaking, to NO2." Meanwhile, the Freudian says: "No, you are only using laughing gas to repress your attraction to your mother! No NO2 for you!"
So, between the Materialist and the Freudian, psychiatry is completely useless to me. It's worse than useless, for it's liable to put me on tranquilizing meds that are specifically designed NOT to give me any self-transcendence, since living large is unseemly to both materialist and Freudians, who want us to obsess about something which, even if it were a problem, they have shown no real ability to "fix." Meanwhile, the obvious treatments -- of joy-making drugs used responsibly -- are completely off their purblind radars.
In short, both Materialists and Freudians claim to be trying to treat the "real" mental or mood issue -- thereby ignoring the obvious and almost always failing in their stated goal in any case, never finding a life-changing answer -- or doing worse than failing by creating an unprecedented pharmacological dystopia by addicting 25% of adult American females to Big Pharma drugs.
Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans
MATERIALISM AND THE DRUG WAR
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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!"
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR
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.
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.
Sana Collective Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.
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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").
(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)
In short, the drug war 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.
PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."
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
Bache, Christopher "LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven" 2019 Park Street Press