he use of the term "recreational" to describe substance use is misleading. Those who use the term are ignoring the fact that enjoyable or interesting drug-induced experiences often provide a psychological respite from the dullness and difficulties of so-called sober life. And thus, although a drug experience may be defined as "recreational," that does not imply that the substance use was ONLY recreational (which is generally the way in which Drug Warriors intend the term).
To the contrary, such use is often psychologically therapeutic, and in two ways, the second of which psychology has yet to recognize: 1) It is therapeutic thanks to the relaxation and/or diversion that the actual drug experience affords, and, 2) It is therapeutic thanks to the relaxation induced by the MERE ANTICIPATION of the upcoming relaxation. DeQuincey wrote of this latter benefit of drug use when he praised the therapeutic value of anticipation in connection with his use of opium (this was before he began his ill-advised daily use of opium for the relief of physical pain, after which he necessarily lost the anticipatory benefits of his substance use).
Not only were the author's weekend experiences at the opera enhanced by opium, but his "sober" weekdays were rendered more bearable as well, not directly by the drug, but thanks to the author's sure and certain knowledge of the upcoming intellectual ecstasies that were awaiting him. It is this "something to look forward to" of which modern psychiatry stubbornly refuses to take cognizance in estimating the value of occasional substance use, preferring instead to categorically demonize substances such as opium and cocaine as having no therapeutic value whatsoever, in slavish deference to the politically inspired laws against such drugs. Such substances are then held to health and safety standards that no one would ever think of applying to alcohol and tobacco, let alone to the Big Pharma antidepressants to which 1 in 4 women are addicted, in a scandal that has yet to make the hypocritical and purblind Drug Warriors lose a minute of sleep.
(One can only conclude that addiction is not the real bugaboo for the anti-drug fanatics, that what really alarms them is the marketing of substances for which big business is not getting its fair share of the profits.)
Thus, the bi-monthly use, say, of psychedelics cannot be dismissed as "recreational" merely because the user has assigned no nobler purpose to the use, for the anticipatory aspect of any positive experience -- drug-induced or otherwise -- can itself conduce to relaxation and a happier life. Thus such use can be psychologically therapeutic even if the user fails to explicitly note that fact.
May 23, 2022 I look forward to the day when psychologically savvy empaths will understand the importance of anticipation. Then I will be the first to join those weekly groups wherein we use a variety of currently demonized medicines to reach self-transcendence while yet avoiding the addictive drugs of Big Pharma. "What's on the menu for this week, doc?" Answer: "This week, Brian, we will all ingest psilocybin mushrooms and then listen to great music. Next week, we'll use morphine to give us supernatural appreciation of mother nature. The week following we'll smoke a little opium and share our wondrous visions. The week following, we'll use coca wine while we're braining storming ideas about how to make our lives better."
Author's Follow-up: April 30, 2023
Some folks who read the above "editor's note" will charge me with thinking of "drugs" as a panacea. But it's natural that a heretical thinker like myself should sound fantastically cheery about drugs in a world in which the party line is to be fantastically dismissive of them. Sure, there are no doubt limits to what "drugs" can accomplish. Moreover, psychoactive drugs do not work like reductionist meds (a fault for which materialists will never forgive them). They are not "one size fits all." Rather, the user will generally benefit from them only to the extent that they have the correct mindset. A drug, for instance, will be less likely to help you appreciate nature if you are not already disposed to do so and desirous of that denouement.
Some Twitter trolls love to shoot down supposedly starry-eyed folks like myself, claiming that there's no "there" there when it comes to substance use, or that the potential benefits are oversold. I answer: how can we say that, when no one has ever combined complete substance freedom and modern mobility with a shamanically motivated and pharmacologically informed look into the topic? In other words, when it comes to "drugs," no one has ever combined "western" dogma-free curiosity with the "eastern" goals of the shaman. For my part, I can imagine an endless list of therapies employing an endless variety of psychoactive meds (many of which we are still unaware in our self-imposed insularity on this topic), both natural and inspired by nature, all of which protocols have never even been imagined before, let alone investigated. The possibilities seem limited by one's imagination alone. Unfortunately, to date, the mainstream has no imagination at all on this topic, having been successfully taught to be terrified of "drugs" in the abstract. But even the opponents of the Drug War fail to envision such possibilities, having themselves been convinced that drug legalization is all about harm reduction and has nothing to do with benefit maximization. They have swallowed the Drug War lie that legalization is all about accommodating and/or protecting white well-to-do hedonists from themselves.
The Links Police
Do you know why I pulled you over? That's right, you were about to leave this page without seeing the following related essays on the topic of "anticipation and the Drug War."
No Drug War Keychains The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)
Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.
The Drug War Censors Science Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. 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.
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company