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Rationality Uber Alles

the link between the drug war and the western world's scientistic contempt for human emotions

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




January 13, 2020

or years, I've been obsessed with answering the following question:

Why are Americans convinced that it's wrong to expand and improve one's conscious mind with the help of plant substances?


After all, we're more than eager to use plant substances for easing the pain of stomach or tooth ache. Why do we stint at using natural plants to improve our feelings?

This morning I awoke with a new answer: The problem is western philosophy.

Beginning with the pre-Socratics, western society became convinced that thought was the best way to understand and cope with the world around us: thought, not feeling. Our feelings could not be trusted, after all, whereas 2+2 was always 4.

This view is so basic now to the western world outlook that we're unlikely to question it, the view that thought should always trump feeling as our guide to the world. But no matter how compelling this proposition must seem to a society in which its truth is taken for granted, there are reasons to believe that it is wrong, or at least that it provides a drastically inadequate means of approaching life and its problems from a human point of view.

For evidence of this one-sided focus on rationality, we have only to consider the absurd presupposition of Freudian psychotherapy: namely, that one will be cured of psychological problems merely by understanding them. Somehow merely explaining the origins of one's bad feelings will make them go away. Such a proposition would not even make philosophical sense to us (it would read like the non-sequitur that it is) unless we presupposed the philosophical superiority of thought over feelings. In a world without that presupposition, an outspoken psychiatric patient would naturally be tempted to chide their Freudian psychotherapist as follows:

"I'm hurting emotionally inside and you're going to cure that problem with WORDS? How about giving me a hug, instead - or a plant-based entheogen - or both?"


Even the highly educated standard bearers of this rationality-based modality tacitly acknowledge its ultimate uselessness, as Freud ensured his own self-fulfillment not with psychotherapy but with the frequent use of cocaine.

Having rendered psychotherapy expensive and ineffective for well over half a century (before it was replaced by the even more expensive and ineffective pill-based therapy), this purblind reliance on reason alone (at the expense of feeling) is now boding a bleak future for society in general, as materialists like Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt strategically seek to make their users behave more like robots, and thus become more predictable for the purposes of surveillance capitalism. Such robotization, after all, is the end game of thought-based society, at least when it embraces the dreary tenets of materialism: namely, that human beings are nothing special, that consciousness is a mere epiphenomenon, and that there is no inherent meaning in life. If that's all there is, as Peggy Lee might sing, then we may as well be robots.

But this preference for thought over feeling is not the only way to approach life. There is an alternative approach, based on feelings and experience, an approach that is aptly evoked by Quanah Parker of the Native American Church when he observes that:

"The White Man goes into church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his tipi and talks with Jesus."


In other words, in religious matters, as in psychotherapy, western society finds it unseemly to actually experience strong emotions. We would rather talk about them. And so when it comes to religion, we are ready to talk the talk, but we would never feel comfortable actually walking the walk. To do so would make us feel like a classical waltzing pro who has been suddenly transported to a hip-hop dance floor. The whole experience would feel wrong and embarrassing to overthinking westerners like ourselves!

Likewise, psychiatrists are comfortable talking to their patients about emotional problems, but they would never think of pharmacologically inducing the actual positive mental states that a cure would represent - that would be too messy, with results too hard to capture on an Excel spread sheet. Better a cure that involves rational understanding than one that "merely" makes one feel better. (Luckily for the squeamish thought-obsessed psychiatrist, the Drug War has thrown them a face-saving lifeline. By outlawing mother nature's vast array of mood-altering psychoactive substances, they have given psychiatrists an excuse for depriving humanity of no-brainer medication to improve their mood, medication in whose ritual use the patient can even come to appreciate his or her place in the universe -- a side effect that no one has yet to notice in the Big Pharma antidepressants to which more than one in 10 Americans are addicted even as I type this and 1 in 4 women.)

So we have an answer, then.

Why are Americans convinced that it's wrong to expand and improve one's conscious mind with the help of plant substances?


Because we westerners are overthinking prudes. Or, to put it in the telling vernacular of certain African-Americans, we are, if you'll pardon my French, a bunch of "tight-ass bougies," preaching relaxation as a theoretical virtue while staunchly refusing to "shake it like we really mean it" out there on the dance floor. That would be scandalous after all and most unseemly for us. But leave us alone with a word processor and we can crank out a short book in one afternoon on the relaxation value inherent in modern dance. For all our bashfulness, we westerners are always good at producing what Hamlet derided as "words, words, words." Hence the proliferation of books by self-help authors, none of whom dare to mention the forbidden fact that mother nature's pharmacy is full of psychoactive plants that appear custom-made to help human beings screw their heads on straight, at least when such substances are employed seriously with that very goal in mind.

And so we make a virtue of our psychological necessity by pretending that the emotive world is not so important anyway, in fact it's downright misleading, we say. And so reality for us is to be discussed and parsed, not to be enjoyed. But note that this is a conclusion based more on sour grapes than on logic.

But there is another way of being in the world, the world of feeling, wherein we strive to be a part of the world, rather than merely attempting to understand it from a supposed god's-eye view - a viewpoint that is no longer even theoretically obtainable to us in any case given the observer-centric nature of the quantum universe.

It is amusing, and perhaps even informative, to realize that in a society in which feelings truly count, the Pied Pipers of the digital revolution would be considered madmen. They would be the inveterate curmudgeons of society who mope around the tribal fireside, mumbling

"must be rational"


in monotone, dogmatically eschewing the food of the gods, whilst the rest of the community dances ecstatically under a star-filled sky.






April 20, 2022: Indeed, the madman par excellence of Western Philosophy was Rene Descartes, who got so hung up in words that he even doubted his own existence, a doubt that can only be imagined coming from an ivory tower, from someone who has too much time on his hands, since in a hands-on universe of feeling and engagement with emotions and the physical world around one, the very thought of doubting one's own existence would be absurd, because for such a person existence literally IS the rich tapestry of feeling and experiences in which a real person is constantly engaged every day of their life. They have neither the need, the time, nor the desire to abstract themselves from the experiential world and assume the fantastical role of a doubting external deity looking down on it all with icy detachment and asking, "Yes, but is it really real???"

Answer: Yes, it is -- until, that is, you've abstracted yourself from that reality by asking questions from the point of view of some supposititious external deity. In that case, YOU have rendered things unreal by treating what's self-evident as problematic. How? By insisting that existence must be provable in eternally fraught words, rather than in extant and undeniable experience.

Words can't meaningfully prove one exists any more than words can meaningfully prove that one should not be depressed: because the truly convincing argument in both cases is real experience of the world around one, not verbose descriptions of that world nor logic detailing how things simply "must be" according to a would-be rational thinker.

Author's Follow-up: October 4, 2022






This materialist desire to find what is "really real" finds its absurd apotheosis in modern drug research, wherein doctors like Robert Glatter can ask with a straight face, while completely ignoring every scrap of common sense and personal experience: "Can laughing gas REALLY help the depressed?" (in the same way that Descartes himself used to ask "can animals REALLY feel pain?") This is why folks like myself have to use addictive Big Pharma meds for conditions like depression, because despite their inadequacy and expense, they are supposedly created on scientific materialist grounds and so can be said to "really" work, as opposed to drugs like the coca leaf and opium and MDMA, which MERELY make one happy and give one something to look forward to. Merely improving one's life in that way is not the goal of psychoactive drug researchers: they want to REALLY fix something. Anything else is a "crutch," according to the materialist newspeak. It is this kind of thinking that resulted in the psychiatric pill mill, upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life, because in attempting to fix a reductively-located chemical imbalance, the drug developers caused one instead.

Forbes Magazine's Laughable Article about Nitrous Oxide



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.




Next essay: John Locke on Drugs
Previous essay: Just Say No to Surveillance Capitalism

More Essays Here


PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR

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.'"

essays about
PHILOSOPHY AND THE DRUG WAR

The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom
The Philosophical Idiocy of the Drug War
The Philosophy of Drug Use
The Philosophy of Getting High
Without Philosophy, Science becomes Scientism
Materialism and the Drug War
Calling All Philosophers
Critique of the Philosophy of Happiness
Heidegger on Drugs
In Praise of Thomas Szasz
Join Philosophers Against the Drug War
Libertarians as Closet Christian Scientists
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
Scientism and America's Drug War hypocrisy
Speaking Truth to Academia
Nietzsche and the Drug War
What if Arthur Schopenhauer Had Used DMT?
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
John Locke on Drugs
Puritanical Assumptions about Drug Use in the Entertainment Field
Why Kevin Sabet is Wrong
I asked 100 American philosophers what they thought about the Drug War
The Great Philosophical Problem of Our Time
What We Mean When We Say 'Drugs'
Whitehead and Psychedelics



front cover of Drug War Comic Book

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by the Drug War Philosopher Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans



You have been reading an article entitled, Rationality Uber Alles: the link between the drug war and the western world's scientistic contempt for human emotions, published on January 13, 2020 on AbolishTheDEA.com. 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 abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)