bird icon for twitter

The Book of the Damned

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

February 7, 2024

n the early 1900s, Charles Fort wrote "Book of the Damned," in which he mentioned how science is an attempt to systemize our knowledge while keeping basic assumptions in mind. Any data that does not serve to substantiate those assumptions is "damned," i.e. ignored. But Charles Fort "didn't know from damnation." Since his day, the Drug War has damned a whole pharmacy worth of evidence by pretending that psychoactive substances have no positive uses for anyone, anywhere, ever. Click the links below to listen to and/or read this classic book1.

By the way, Wikipedia's summary of this book is rot.

Wikipedia tells us that "the book is historically considered to be the first written in the specific field of anomalistics." But this is a very shallow book review. The book is actually a harsh satirical criticism of modern science, which as Fort believes, does not investigate anything at all -- but rather sets out to prove things that it already believes. This explains why science today ignores (or "damns," in the language of Fort) any positive stories about drug use -- because it is not interested in investigating drugs per se, but rather in establishing that drugs are bad. This is why we have a National Institute on Drug Abuse rather than a National Institute on Drug Use. The facts about positive use -- dating back to prehistoric times -- have been damned (ignored) by modern science. Science's goal in our time is to systemize knowledge about drugs based on the assumption that drug use is always unnecessary, dangerous and bad in the long-term: in other words, science is dedicated to "proving" puritanical beliefs about drugs and ignoring the fact that all tribal peoples have used drugs, for both personal and sociological improvement, as noted by the first ethnobotanist, Richard Schultes2.

Fort's book, by the way, is quite amusing, at least to non-materialists. Here are a few of my favorite quips.

"Sometimes cannonballs are found embedded in trees. Does not seem to be anything to discuss; doesn't seem discussable that anyone would cut a hole in a tree and hide a cannonball, which one could take to bed and hide under one's pillow just as easily."

"The volume of smoke that went up (from the Krakatoa volcano of 1883) must have been visible to other planets — or, tormented with our crawlings and scurryings, the earth complained to Mars; swore a vast black oath at us."

"I think it looks very much like what I think it looks like."

"He 'identifies' this matter as sand from an African desert — but after deducting organic matter. But you and I could be 'identified' as sand from an African desert, after deducting all there is to us except sand."

Click here to read The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort.

Click here to listen to The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort.


1 Fort, Charles, The Book of the Damned, (up)
2 Schultes, Plants of the Gods:Origins of Hallucinogenic Use, 1979 (up)

Next essay: In Defense of Cocaine
Previous essay: The Problem is Prohibition, not Fentanyl

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
The Drug War is a religion. The "addict" is a sinner who has to come home to the true faith of Christian Science. In reality, neither physical nor psychological addiction need be a problem if all drugs were legal and we used them creatively to counter problematic use.
The Drug War is based on a huge number of misconceptions and prejudices. Obviously it's about power and racism too. It's all of the above. But every time I don't mention one specifically, someone makes out that I'm a moron. Gotta love Twitter.
Drug warriors are too selfish and short-sighted to fight real problems, so they blame everything on drugs.
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.
Well, today's Oregon vote scuttles any ideas I might have entertained about retiring in Oregon.
The formula is easy: pick a substance that folks are predisposed to hate anyway, then keep hounding the public with stories about tragedies somehow related to that substance. Show it ruining lives in movies and on TV. Don't lie. Just keep showing all the negatives.
"Dope Sick"? "Prohibition Sick" is more like it. For me the very term "dope" connotes imperialism, racism and xenophobia, given that all tribal cultures have used "drugs" for various purposes. "Dope? Junk?" It's hard to imagine a more intolerant, dismissive and judgmental terminology.
In a sane world, we'd package laughing gas for safe use and give it to the suicidal -- saying, "Use before attempting to kill yourself." But drug warriors would rather have suicide than drug use.
In "Four Good Days" the pompous white-coated doctor ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.
More Tweets

essays about

The Book of the Damned continued

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, The Book of the Damned published on February 7, 2024 on 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 (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)