on replacing psychiatry with pharmacologically savvy shamanism
Despite the so-called miracle drugs of psychiatry, America remains both the most depressed AND the most drug-using nation on Earth. Why? Because psychiatrists, motivated by physics envy (i.e. the desire to be part of a "hard science"), have adopted a scientistic approach to treating depression, whereby they insist that one must treat the supposed reductionist cause of the depression "illness" in order to help patients (never mind that the belief in the existence of a one-size fits all cure for the fundamental human condition of depression is about as philosophically sound as a search for the Holy Grail). Indeed, the miracle drugs "discovered" under the influence of this scientistic search have been shown to cause the very chemical imbalances that they were intended to correct, thereby resulting in recidivism rates worse than heroin for those who attempt to quit many SSRIs and SNRIs. Yet psychiatry clings to this scientistic party line (this myth of having found "miracle drugs" for depression) in the very face of the addictive dystopia that it has created (a kind of real-world Stepford Wives in which 1 in 4 American women are pacified by Big Pharma's emotion-tamping drugs).
It is this blind faith in their supposedly scientific approach to depression that has left psychiatrists impotent to treat depression effectively, causing them to scornfully reject far less addictive treatments that would have been psychologically obvious to them as godsends were they not in the thrall of their scientism combined with Drug Warrior hysteria and lies. I am referring here to the politically incorrect fact that mother nature's psychoactive plants could be used strategically by pharmacologically savvy empaths to bring about peace of mind and productivity (if not positive self-fulfillment in life) in patients with heretofore intractable depression.
LET'S HEAR IT FOR TREATING THE SYMPTOMS!
Hearing these arguments, the psychiatrist instinctively cries out with the old canard, "Yes, but you're only treating the symptoms!" But that objection is just another way of claiming that there is a one-size-fits-all, reductionist cure for depression in the first place, and we see by the sadness and Big Pharma addiction all around us that this is just not so. Moreover, it is philosophically improbable (in the highest degree) that this SHOULD be so, that there WOULD be a meaningful one-size-fits-all cure for such a diverse phenomenon as human sadness. And even if someone claimed to find such a "cure," we would have to ask the question: how are they defining the word "cure"? Is a depressed patient "cured" when they stop complaining about their dull life and make their peace with mediocrity? Or are they "cured" when they start to achieve self-fulfillment in life and see the world around them with new focus and appreciation? If Big Pharma "wonder drugs" really cure the depressed, then it is surely only in the former sense that they do so, helping the user settle for second best in life, not by widening their world and showing them previously unthought-of ways to "live large," psychologically if not financially speaking.
Once we put aside psychiatry's selfish desire to be "scientific" (along with our drug-war-inspired Christian Science bias against mother nature's plant medicines) we can start imagining creative depression treatments such as the one that I've detailed below. I pick this particular treatment almost at random, reminding the reader as I do so that the ways to facilitate shamanic-style healing with psychoactive plants are limited only by the human imagination - and, alas, the anti-patient Drug War, which seeks to villainize mother nature's pharmacopoeia instead of employing it in the interests of human happiness, creativity and self-fulfillment.
Why use mother-nature's plant medicines in this way? Because unlike Big Pharma's numbing nostrums, psychoactive plants can inspire, teach, and console a human being - especially when administered by a pharmacologically savvy empath, the sort of cross-culturally conscious and cosmopolitan plant specialist who I hope one day will take the place of the pill-peddling psychiatrist.
OPIUM THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION
Therapy: Weekly guided opium use administered in such a way as to promote creativity, thinking outside the box, and overall depression relief.
Method of Operation: This treatment obtains results (i.e., cheers the patient up "overall") by giving him or her something to look forward to, in the form of an opium-using afternoon, for individuals and/or groups of people with similar interests (which they might discuss when "under the influence"). For it is psychologically obvious (once we put scientism aside) that anticipation of a relaxing experience conduces to overall relaxation. The real hell of depression (and I write from 45 years of experience) is the feeling that the "down" times will drag on forever, and this feeling could be convincingly combatted with a weekly (and therefore non-addictive) use of opium. No matter how bad the week, the "patient" of this treatment has but to look at their calendar to dispel that fearful conviction of the depressed that their morose lethargy will endure forever.
Procedure: Subject would lie or sit in comfortable position, have access to the music of their choice, and a pen and paper to write down impressions.
Ideal Patient: Depressed patient (or indeed any would-be creative type) seeking to take a break from their default thought patterns and shake up the mental cobwebs in the hopes of thereby gaining inspiration and motivation for life in the "real world."
ROADBLOCK EN ROUTE TO THERAPEUTIC EDEN
One problem with realizing this dream of opium therapy (and cocaine therapy, and psychedelic therapy) is the absurd way in which we punish demonized drugs for failure. A demonized drug need play a role in merely one single patient death and it might be withheld from an entire generation of the depressed - meanwhile alcohol and tobacco kill hundreds of thousands a year and no one bats an eyelash. This raises the question: why are the rights of the responsible beer guzzler so much more important than those of the responsible opium, cocaine or psychedelic user? Why is beer allowed to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths a year and remain on the market unscathed by bad publicity while a potentially godsend medicine like cocaine or opium must be withdrawn from everybody (in the entire world!) once it kills a mere handful of users? This absurd requirement, that villainized psychoactive substances be 100% safe and, as it were, idiotproof, only makes sense to us in the light of the Drug Warrior's Christian Science prejudice against the psychoactive healing and improvement of psychological conditions.
Still believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance? You may wish to read "The Emperor's New Drugs" by Irving Kirsch or "Anatomy of an Epidemic" by Robert Whitaker.
Meanwhile, here's a philosophical reason why the idea is bogus: If drug-makers have really 'cured' depression, then they should be able to tell us what they mean by 'cured'? Am I cured from depression when I no longer consider suicide and live a sleepy uneventful life? Or am I cured when I thrive in life and see 'a world in a grain of sand' a la Carl Sandburg? From my experience with antidepressants, the drug-maker's definition of 'cured' is the former -- while my definition of 'cured' is the latter.
Therefore Big Pharma anti-depressants may fix SOMETHING, but they certainly do not fix 'depression' as I define it, as something that keeps me from 'living large.'
Meanwhile, drugs like psilocybin, coca, opium and MDMA -- when used advisedly -- can help me live the way I wish to live in life -- firing on all burners, for my goal is to be one of Jack Kerouac's kind of people:
"The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles."
Sure, you can lobotomize me or tranquilize me instead, but let's be clear: that 'cure' works for the psychiatrist only, not for the 'patient' (or rather the 'victim').
Author's Follow-up: August 29, 2022
Modern psychology completely ignores the power of anticipation to brighten one's day. They have to ignore the power of anticipation in the age of the Drug War. Why? Because the moment one recognizes the therapeutic value of anticipation, it becomes obvious that drugs like coca and opium and laughing gas can be godsends for the depressed when used wisely. For not only do their active ingredients help elevate mood, but the mere anticipation of such use elevates mood as well. So why don't we allow and teach wise use?
Because the Drug War is all about persuading the world that wise use of these substances impossible, that no amount of education, research or teaching can let us use these substances wisely,
For the Drug War defines drugs as follows: substances for which there is no beneficial use: not now, not ever; not for me, not for you, not for anyone anywhere in the entire world.
Of course, the plain unvarnished truth is that there are no such substances in the world. Even the super-toxic Botox can be used wisely for the good of human beings.
But the Drug Warrior has convinced the world of their unscientific (or rather anti-scientific) thesis. That's why most scientists today ignore the fact that their research opportunities are censored by drug prohibition, for they themselves have swallowed the anti-scientific lie that almost all psychoactive medicines lack any therapeutic benefits whatsoever.
And so Americans blithely go about their day, urinating on demand for their employers while the police continue arresting their compatriots for using naturally occurring medicines that have inspired entire religions.
All because we'd rather arrest people for using medical godsends instead of teaching them how to use them wisely.
Americans do not want to be honest about drugs, because the moment they are truly honest, they will have to admit the inconvenient fact that 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life on Big Pharma meds thanks to the Drug War which outlaws freely occurring psychoactive medicines; they will have to admit that tobacco and liquor together kill half a million Americans a year; they will have to admit that opium can be used non-addictively and that heroin and morphine can be used for a lifetime without problem -- if the Drug Warrior would allow such use; they would have to admit that withdrawal is hell only because the Drug Warrior has outlawed the use of all substances that might otherwise make it bearable.
Once we jettison the slough of Drug War lies, it becomes psychological common sense that we can work wonders if we would only start using psychoactive substances creatively to help the troubled or rudderless -- not by getting them to take Big Pharma pills every day of their life but rather by giving them now one godsend medicine, now another, such that they obfuscate the withdrawal symptoms and place the seeker on a more sustainable path to self-enlightenment.
This utopia will only come about when American lawmakers stop being chicken-little fearmongers about inanimate substances and start educating Americans about them instead in the painfully honest way cited above -- which may never happen until the 1% stop bribing politicians to vote against any change to the corrupt status quo.
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
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.