Latest posts by Aldous Slack (see all)
Slowly, ever so god-damned slowly, public policy has been changing in regards to drugs, their use, and harm reduction. California, Oregon, and now even Denver have made moves towards legalizing mushrooms; the safest drug for the body and one of the most dangerous for the ego. And despite trickster elf Sessions attacks on marijuana it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact the trend around the world seems to be towards acceptance of a drug we must of evolved in close proximity to, since we have an entire biological system activated by it. As MAPS makes progress with mainstream research of ancient healing modalities we are also finding out we can learn a lot about how consciousness works, both internally and in a lab with psychedelics. The tide seems to be turning. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a lot of old rigid thinking on the subject will have to pass away. The plastic jar of Tang in the oval office will in no way help the cause. But….. the fact that connected white people with money are able to legally buy LSD and give it to people says a lot about the progress so far.
Surprising to no-one with any experience with drugs, when a culture adopts the sanctioned use of a new substance there tends to be a powerful qualitative change in the culture and in it’s expression. It happened to you and your friends when you started smoking weed, and it happened to native Americans with the introduction of alcohol. Obviously what changes occur depends on the popularity and quality of the drug. I point this out really to stress the idea that intelligent drug laws seems to be one of the few opportunities for social change capable of shaking up our starkly divided systems, and psychedelics seem like the most powerful tool for dissolving all of the ideological boundaries people are becoming insulated in. No more right wing left wing mumbling parrot politics, maybe more of a holy shit governing is complicated and hard and we need to approach it with an honest humility and a admitted ignorance. Because truly, all of our issues can’t be solved with single idea meme’s and one line arguments. In other words, even the single idea of changing drug laws is no panacea for our society, but I think it has the potential to clear up a lot.
As author Mike Jay said in his book High Society, “we were taking drugs long before we were human,’ and yet we can’t seem to fully come to terms with that yet as a species. Puritanical sounding politicians have used drug fear to garner attention and support, and in a similar power move most criminal organization around the world are funded by the illegal trafficking of drugs. Now some of our largest corporations make money off of the illegality of substances, by cornering markets, while others make money off of the incarceration, probation, and rehabilitation of non violent drug users. As a species we can come to terms with our natural use of drugs, stop the often violent exploitation of black markets, the incarceration rates, the criminalization of nature, and take back the fundamental human rights to own ourselves that were taken away long ago by our drug laws.
I’m not the only one who feels this way. Along those lines a piece from express.co.uk,
“Researchers say the drugs are much less harmful than alcohol, and banning them is a human rights issue because of their “spiritual” links. The Norwegian researchers also claim there is no link between LSD and magic mushrooms and mental health problems. They analysed information from more than 135,000 random people, including 19,000 who had used psychedelics, and found no association between the drugs and psychosis. The study used data from the US National Health Survey and found there was no relationship with psychological distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts. A previous study by the same researchers also failed to tie up LSD and magic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin, with brain damage. Clinical psychologist Dr Pal-Orjan Johansen, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said: “Over 30 million US adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems.” “Concerns have been raised the ban on use of psychedelics is a violation of the human rights to belief and spiritual practice, full development of the personality, and free time and play.”
Besides the question of when (where the answer is not soon enough), the prospect of psychedelic legalization will bring a subculture to the mainstream, and in doing so will undoubtedly sully it. To say the least. This is to me the best part. When psychedelic culture has died in the mainstream something new will be born in the fringe, something more subversive, something even weirder. The other positive effect could be the establishment of positive drug culture which tends to self moderate, and raise awareness, thereby reducing harm in use.
Maybe one day we will be able to get to the more periphery research like the effects of psychedelics on psychic ability, why synchronicities seem to occur far more frequently around psychedelics, and how can you keep the ‘magic’ in repeated doses of MDMA. Hedonic turn-on’s. I still think Leary was right and this is all inevitable if we can keep from killing ourselves off in the meantime.