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The Philosophy of Getting High

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




May 18, 2019

he world has been so thoroughly bamboozled by Richard Nixon's jaundiced view of so-called "drugs" that it cannot begin to visualize anybody "getting high" for any but the most selfish and irresponsible of reasons. This is a shame, because the philosophical mindset of the Western world was chiefly established by folks who got high. In fact, these people not only got high, but they considered their moments of inebriation to be the best and (ironically) the most real moments of their lives. I'm speaking, of course, about the famous alumni of those long-running Eleusinian mysteries (circa 1600 b.c.e. to 392 c.e.), wherein a psychoactive substance (probably ergot) was used to put the participant in touch with immortality and the meaning of life.

Socrates' belief in forms, Aristotle's belief in catharsis, Plutarch's belief in an afterlife: these were not just armchair philosophies based on abstract premises: these were truths that were confirmed to the ancient Greeks and Romans upon drinking the psychedelic kykeon. {^The fact that we modern humans disdainfully refer to such profound experiences as "getting high" betrays our puritan distaste for improving our consciousness with the help of Mother Nature's bounty.}{ This distaste might have originally been justified on religious grounds, perhaps under the assumption that such a psychedelic intervention was somehow an affront to the deity, but in these modern agnostic times, we have no such religious excuse for ignoring the therapeutic value of drug-induced ecstasy.

Unfortunately, our puritan biases are so ingrained that it took the disingenuous bluster of only one determined law-and-order politician, namely Richard Nixon, to revive our contempt for any pharmacologically altered state of consciousness. (Almost overnight, truth seekers became scumbags, should they attempt to fathom the world with the help of natural psychoactive substances.) And thus Richard Nixon forced us by law to "just say no" to almost 2,000 years' worth of compelling evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelic drugs, forcing the depressed wisdom seeker to rely instead on legal drugs that fogged the mind rather than illuminating it.

But then Nixon was not the first despot to tell us to "just say no" to drug-induced mental clarity and cosmological insight. {^The Eleusinian mysteries were shut down in 392 c.e., not because they were a long-running fad that had finally run its course, but because the Christian emperor Theodosius saw the popular mysteries as a challenge to Christian orthodoxy - more proof that the modern Drug War represents the establishment of a de facto religion, albeit a materialist religion that takes a dim view of Mother Nature and of its potential role in improving human consciousness.}{


Author's Follow-up: July 31, 2023


Of course, I was still a kid back in 2019 when I wrote this, so I can be forgiven for overlooking William James. He's the American philosopher who told us that:

"No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question--for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness."


That was written over 150 years ago. Scarcely 70 years later, the American government started outlawing all the substances that could tell us about other forms of consciousness. How do legislators get away with ignoring history like this and turning "users" into criminals?




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Previous essay: How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Drug War

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Prohibitionists have blood on their hands. People do not naturally die in the tens of thousands from opioid use, notwithstanding the lies of 19th-century missionaries in China. It takes bad drug policy to accomplish that.
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.
In 1886, coca enthusiast JJ Tschudi referred to prohibitionists as 'kickers.' He wrote: "If we were to listen to these kickers, most of us would die of hunger, for the reason that nearly everything we eat or drink has fallen under their ban."
The drug war has created a whole film genre with the same tired plots: drug-dealing scumbags and their dupes being put in their place by the white Anglo-Saxon establishment, which has nothing but contempt for altered states.
There are a potentially vast number of non-addictive drugs that could be used strategically in therapy. They elate and "free the tongue" to help talk therapy really work. Even "addictive" drugs can be used non-addictively, prohibitionist propaganda notwithstanding.
America created a whole negative morality around "drugs" starting in 1914. "Users" became fiends and were as helpless as a Christian sinner -- in need of grace from a higher power. Before prohibition, these "fiends" were habitues, no worse than Ben Franklin or Thomas Jefferson.
I looked up the company: it's all about the damn stock market and money. The FDA outlaws LSD until we remove all the euphoria and the visions. That's ideology, not science. Just relegalize drugs and stop telling me how much ecstasy and insight I can have in my life!!
Prohibitionists are also responsible for the 100,000-plus killed in the US-inspired Mexican drug war
I never said that getting off SSRIs should be done without supervision. If you're on Twitter for medical advice, you're in the wrong place.
NEW TERM FOR LOGIC CLASSES: "The Oprah Winfrey Fallacy," which is the idea that a statistically insignificant number of cases constitutes a crisis, provided ONLY that the villain of the piece is something that racist politicians have demonized as a "drug."
More Tweets


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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 Philosophy of Getting High published on May 18, 2019 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)