I write this node as a combination rant
and rhetorical question
. I've been putting a lot of thought lately into the so called War on Drugs
issues, and the "moral
" aspect of the whole debate about drugs.
Specifically, I'll be dealing with the "psychedelic
" drugs, or hallucinogens
in this writeup.
I'd have to start by examining exactly why such chemicals are illegal. Historically speaking, LSD was first banned when the government noted a correlation between its use and anti-war protests during Vietnam. Since that time, many other hallucinogens have been added, and few or none removed, from the list of controlled substances. Legalization of these substances now would not cause or increase rebellion against the government, so I'll rule this out as a valid reason for their prohibition.
Next, I can go to any local gas station or convenience store, show my ID, and legally buy products that will do me more harm than the average hallucinogen. Specifically, alcohol and tobacco, which are also more addictive than most (if not all) psychedelics. Logically, we should be able to rule out addictive potential and health risks as valid reasons for the prohibition of hallucinogens.
To me, this seems to leave one plausible reason for the banning of hallucinogens: the government believes that drugs are immoral. Why is this? Put quite simply, hallucinogens basically enhance the imagination, and temporarily alter one's state of mind, inducing a fantasy/dreamlike state. This brings me to a concept I recently concieved which I call the "Psychedelic Fantasy Paradox".
I've often heard anti-drug people say that drugs are used as an "escape from reality", or a good feeling that "isn't real". Well, wouldn't dreams fall into the same category? Certainly the friendly government wouldn't prohibit sleep. Another thing that occured to me recently, along the same lines is some of the old pro-reading campaigns directed at young children, which try to entice kids into reading by telling them about the "wonderful world of books", and how books can "take you places". The universe of imagination and fantasy is treated as a wonderful thing when used to promote something "positive" like reading, but is portrayed as immature, and "fake" when applied to something "negative" like drugs. This is the annoying paradox created when people twist the facts to show something as being good or bad, as it suits their needs.
Imagination is one of the most amazing products of consciousness. It is one of the things that separates human beings from the other animals on this planet. Imagination and fantasy, whether inspired by a book or movie, created by sleep, or induced by chemicals, are an amazing aspect of the human mind, and should be accepted as such.
(one final note, this writeup--like all of my others-- was composed without the influence of psychoactive chemicals)