I too well understood that to think, in my situation, was to be lost. - Edgar Allan Poe from "The Imp of the Perverse"
Why do so many rock, pop, TV and movie stars have "trouble" with "drugs"? The answer is rather simple, despite the fact that addiction "experts" do everything they can to confuse the issue.
Take Gabriel Mate, for instance. He asserts that almost every addict is dealing with inner pain.
This is a problematic statement already, since the term "addict" is a political label: it refers to those who are "addicted" to illegal drugs only, not to those who are addicted to Big Pharma Meds (including one in four American women, an addiction crisis with which Mate does not appear to be particularly bothered). Moreover, when JFK used speed, it was for "therapeutic" reasons, but had John Doe used "speed" in the same way, he would have been called an addict. These, of course, are political diagnoses, not medical ones.
But putting aside the hypocrisy of the term "addict," Mate and his fellow addiction counselors are so eager to medicalize and moralize the "addiction problem" that they miss the obvious psychological explanation of drug use among celebrities (and would-be celebrities). These people are "putting themselves out there" in a more nerve-racking position than those that are notoriously encountered by a public speaker. They cannot flinch before the camera or their career is dead. The moment that they demonstrate the least bit of doubt before their public, they are headed down the road of self-destruction. How? Due to the phenomenon that laypeople so accurately refer to as "choking," aka self-destructing, the masochistic phenomenon that Edgar Allan Poe so meticulously described in his short story entitled "The Imp of the Perverse."
Poe himself pointed out that "the schools" take no notice of this phenomenon and that remains the case to this very day, 150 years later, despite the fact that the laypeople just mentioned are under no delusions about the existence of this tendency: this tendency to destroy oneself by becoming excessively conscious of what one is doing, when one is doing it. Heidegger himself understood this phenomenon though he apparently addressed it too pedantically to be understood by the addiction counselors of our time. These latter professionals tend to see illegal substance use among celebrities as a sign of some deep-seated inner conflict from childhood, rather than as the instinctive employment of real politik by a user who realizes, in the words of Poe himself, that "to think was to be lost." If they become aware of what they're doing while they're doing it, their career is over, in the exact same way that knife jugglers are dead (or at least hideously injured) the moment that they start consciously thinking about specific knife trajectories while they are juggling.
In short: celebrities must silence the inner voice or quite simply lose their job, their self-respect, and their money.
Faced with these psychological facts of life, it is no wonder that many celebrities resort to "drugs" to keep that inner voice at bay. They "know" about the phenomenon of choking even if psychologists do not, and they know that, should they "choke" in front of an audience, they will get no kudos for having performed "sober" - no record company is going to keep paying their salaries because they have "just said no to drugs." Their job demands performance, and while society sings the praises of sobriety, no one is going to pay them one single penny for it: they are going to pay only for that celebrity who can be a real personality - right in front of the prying and judgmental eyes of the audience.
No doubt some of us have personalities that are naturally up to that task, just as some of us are less nervous than others while speaking in public. But many of us have a tendency to self-doubt in front of audiences and we realize instinctively (as demonstrated by our natural grasp of the psychological concept of "choking") that self-doubt is a killer. Given this state of affairs, it is no surprise whatsoever that would-be celebrities would have an instinct to self-medicate, and what's more, that instinct is usually "right." They DO need to self-medicate, precisely to the extent that they would otherwise "choke." What's more, they are motivated by the simple desire to survive in the world - and not by some childish desire to "get high" for the hell of it.
But instead of grasping these facts, Drug Warriors (and those who are influenced by their philosophically flawed premises) express a naïve surprise in the face of celebrity drug use, saying idiotic things such as: "Oh, he was such a talented person: why did he have to ruin himself by taking drugs!" Or, "She was such a wonderful performer: had she only said no to drugs, how much better she might have been!"
But the notion that these performers would have been performers without "drugs" is just so much Christian Science piety. It's a matter of faith of the Drug War, without any grounding in the psychology of the everyday life of actual human beings. Sure, many early drug users eventually renounce the drugs in question (preferably while publishing a best seller about their "courageous battle with addiction"), but the drug still served its psychological purpose, even if the ungrateful star fails to acknowledge it: the substance kept the user from choking just long enough that success became a habit, at which point the drug itself was no longer necessary. In other words, drug use of this kind can lead to a virtuous circle of positive feedback, thanks to which the "imp of the perverse" is often effectively silenced for the rest of the performer's life.
Of course, since celebrities (and celebrity wannabes) get exactly zero help from naive psychology in acquiring substances that quiet the overly censorious mind, they end up buying and using whatever substances are available for that purpose on the black market - which, thanks to Drug War prohibition, end up being some of the most addictive substances on the planet, especially when used ill-advisedly, which is the only way they CAN be used thanks to the Drug War prohibition on educating people objectively about the pros and cons of psychoactive substances. Such education may not be technically illegal but it is strongly discouraged by drug law. Why? Because the objective recital of the pros and cons of psychoactive substances would show up Big Pharma meds for the ineffective and highly addictive substances that they are. Such a listing would also show that drugs like opium and cocaine are not evil incarnate, but rather simply substances that can be used for good or ill, depending upon how they are employed.
So, why do so many rock, pop, TV and movie stars have "trouble" with "drugs"?
It is a leading, and therefore misleading, question, phrased in such a way as to make "drugs" a universal scapegoat, the cause of all evil in the world (even psychological evil), thus allowing psychologists and society in general to ignore the real problem here.
The fact is there is no drug problem among celebrities: there is a problem with egos and choking.
Until psychology correctly defines the problem, they'll be lousy at combatting it.
Of course, psychology is no doubt willfully purblind in this regard, because once this problem is acknowledged, the "fix" that suggests itself is politically incorrect. Why? Because the psychological problems in question cry out for the creative use of thousands of psychoactive plants in therapies custom-made for each doubt-riddled performer, substances which can quiet the "imp of the perverse" with the least problematic side effects in both the short and long runs. And since Drug Warriors, in their simplistic philosophy, cannot see anything but hedonism in the use of psychoactive substances, they cannot imagine a world in which plant medicines are used in this way.
QUALIFICATIONS AND AFTERTHOUGHTS
Of course, it might be argued that I myself am pathologizing drug use by referring it to a kind of basic human anxiety, but the anxiety of which I speak here is inherent to the human condition (Poe certainly thought so) and therefore not pathological in any meaningful sense of that word. I should also add that the fear of choking is not the only reason why a celebrity might rationally seek out drugs, as for instance they may simply need a boost in stamina after the manner of a Red Bull devotee. But we must be careful here, because if the "Imp of the Perverse" is a fundamental principle of psychological life, then celebrities must often self-medicate in order to avoid it without consciously recognizing the motive behind their actions. According to the usual moralizing approach of modern psychology, such self-medicating is inexplicable: the celebrity was doing fine, after all, why need he or she self-medicate!? When we think in this way, we have to start fishing about for childhood traumas (Gabriel Mate's "inner pains") in order to explain the substance use in question. But such drug use makes perfect sense once we recognize that the celebrity must intuit the absolute imperative to avoid excessive introspection at any cost. Platitudes about "just say no" are all well and good, but the celebrity has to survive in the world and pay bills, not just please some politically correct psychiatrist that they see every three months or so.
For such celebrities know, to quote Poe again, "that to think was to be lost," and that is why they seek to keep one step ahead of their self-doubt, by any means necessary, and to hell with the DEA and purblind psychiatry, which would want to arrest him on the one hand and addict him on the other, though not to drugs that will help him forget himself and so succeed in celebrity life, but rather to Big Pharma meds which merely help him make his peace with falling short of self-fulfillment in life.
EDITOR'S STILL FURTHER NOTE: But we need not look at the rock star as pathologically shy. Rather, the rock star is seeking inspiration in the same way that the priest and priestess used to seek inspiration at the oracles. It involved the introduction of ecstatic states in order for the mere human user to become something more or better than one's mortal sober self. But we have been taught to pathologize all criminalized substance use today, and so we dogmatically ignore the psycho-pharmacological history of humankind as expressed in ancient ritual and prudishly ascribe all 'drug use' (a pejorative term in itself) to hedonism, in line with the Christian Science metaphysic of the Drug War.
EVEN FURTHER YET!: Sobriety is overrated. Anyone who's lived a dull sober life for 60 years knows that. No doubt the vast majority of suicides could have passed a drug test. Stone-cold sobriety for me has always been a killer, conducive of negative revolving thoughts about the hopelessness of all human effort, particularly my own. Yet the Drug Warrior has given an almost religious significance to the achievement of their hypocritically defined "sobriety," tacitly canonizing all of us who have renounced our right to godsend plant medicine, in lockstep with the ideology of substance demonization in which we've been steeped since birth -- or at least since we received our first teddy bear from the local police force in recognition of our heartfelt vow to "just say no" to the botanical medicines of mother nature.
The Drug War is a bipartisan effort, hence its staying power, but if the Republicans have their way, we will have an insurrection to install a president who wants to carry out "the final solution" for the drug war, by executing those who dare to traffic in botanical godsends of which racist politicians disapprove. Yes, Joe Biden himself is part of the problem with his belief in prioritizing fear over facts and incarceration over education. Moreover, he just doesn't "get" the simple fact that prohibition causes violence, it's as simple as that. But the openly traitorous republicans, with the help of Fox News, want to take the drug war to "a whole new level" -- while turning America into a Banana Republic, by getting rid of free elections and installing demagogues by force. Surely the least we can ask of American corporations is that they do not attempt to profit from the peddling of the lies that support this ongoing effort at insurrection. Sign the petition today to tell American businesses that they will be held responsible for supporting networks that openly support insurrection.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Birth of the Modern.
New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Johnson says that opium caused Samuel Taylor Coleridge's problems. Nonsense. Lack of education and irresponsibility causes problems. As Johnson himself says, most Brits used opium as needed without trouble.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.