Essay date: March 9, 2023

Science Set Free... NOT!

How Rupert Sheldrake reckons without the drug war

science is LITERALLY censored today by substance prohibition, which outlaws and otherwise discourages research about precisely those substances whose use conduces to a holistic view of the world around us.

upert Sheldrake is one of those authors who makes me feel ashamed of my lack of smarts. He so easily throws together philosophical observations with the history of science that I despair of ever coming close to his real-time ability to get to the point.

But for all his board-certified prowess, Rupert has one Achilles' heel that he shares with almost every other scientist and philosopher on the planet: the fact that he has been bamboozled by the war on drugs. How else could he write a book called "Science Set Free" in which he never even mentions that war?

For the fact is that science is not simply in FIGURATIVE bondage these days thanks to materialist dogma: science is LITERALLY censored today by substance prohibition, which outlaws and otherwise discourages research about precisely those substances whose use conduces to a holistic view of the world around us.

This is the big story, Rupert, the fact that science is legally censored these days in the exact same way that science was censored in Galileo's time: the government tells us which subjects can and cannot be explored. The government makes this palatable to us by convincing scientists (apparently even Rupert himself) that there are, indeed, some substances called "drugs" or "narcotics" which have no positive uses for anyone, anywhere, in any dose, at any time, for any reason, ever. But, Rupert, there are no substances of that kind. By thinking otherwise, we have outlawed neuron-growing substances that have the potential for treating Alzheimer's Disease and autism. Moreover, many of the substances that we demonize today have inspired entire religions and philosophies, as soma inspired the Vedic religion and laughing gas inspired the philosophy of William James.

In "Science Set Free," Rupert mentions "narcotics" once, but only to refer to the ability of drug-carrying suspects ("crooks") to "feel" the gaze of narcotic agents on their backs. In other words, Rupert echoes the Drug War narratives, that there are crooks out there dealing in substances that should be off limits to human beings. Thus Rupert takes the Drug War as a natural baseline, finding nothing unusual about the fact that the government should tell us which substances we're allowed to ingest and thus which mental outlooks we're allowed to access and hold.

First things first, please, Rupert: If we want to set science free, the first step is to rescind the laws that literally censor science, especially since those laws are designed to specifically outlaw the substances whose use conduces to a non-materialist understanding of the world around us.

Author's Follow-up: March 9, 2023

Rupert champions the idea of morphic resonance as being preferable in his view to intelligent design, which he associates with a god. I'm not sure that ID requires the kind of god that Rupert seems to be rejecting here. To be sure, materialists like to put ID proponents on the back foot by asking them, "Who is the designer?", but strictly speaking, the ID project says nothing about the nature of the designer, leaving that topic for discussion by various faiths, from creationism to atheism. But assuming that ID does demand a god, I'm not sure how morphic resonance solves the problem of a first cause. Morphic resonance sounds to me like an agency without an agent -- as if we could say with the materialists that "that's just the way the world is" and feel we have thereby explained something. I'm not arguing against morphic resonance here, simply suggesting that it does not give us any satisfactory answer about origins. It kind of passes the buck by speaking in the passive voice -- there are morphic resonance fields -- thereby begging the question, whence come these fields?

Back to drugs.

Rupert could have made a much stronger case for his anti-materialist thesis if he evinced a familiarity with psychoactive medicines (or "drugs," as he has apparently been taught to call them). When I consumed peyote in Arizona a few years ago, I saw a slide show of Mesoamerican imagery in my mind's eye. That's a result that materialism simply cannot account for in any credible way whatsoever. There is a sense of "something far more deeply interfused" in such an experience and that it was evoked by the consumption of a cactus suggests all sorts of holistic ontologies.

Author's Follow-up: March 27, 2023

I've seen this before, by the way. Wolfgang Smith has all sorts of fabulous insights about the true nature of reality, yet he too has been bamboozled by Drug War propaganda. He correctly senses that psychedelic medicines (in the form of mescaline in particular) can prompt states of mind that are similar to those experienced by the great saints and sages of all times in what is often called 'the perennial philosophy.' But he dismisses the psychedelic users of the '60s as hedonists, in fealty to the Drug War zeitgeist which has always sought to depict them in that very way. He scoffs at those users under the assumption that they all had corrupt motives, saying something to the effect that their psychedelic forays were more likely to attain hell than to attain heaven.

How would he know?

Answer: he has swallowed the Drug Warrior line that psychedelic drugs, for the most part, can only be used by irresponsible people, and then only for the purpose of "getting high" in the most pejorative (which is to say puritanical) acceptation of that phrase.

Next essay: Night of the Addicted Americans
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You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at 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.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

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.

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)
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