Drug Use One of Many Way Humans Seek Understanding

Drug Use One of Many Way Humans Seek Understanding
Posted by FoM on May 10, 2000 at 20:46:49 PT
Opinion By Bill McConnell 
Source: Central Daily Times
On April 9, Joseph B. Filko, in his article "Getting wasted isn't a right," asserted that self-intoxication is not a right and that only two uses exist for drugs: medicinal and abuse.It has been argued that to know oneself, to understand consciousness, is the highest purpose of life. 
Many world religions consider this endeavor worthy of complete intellectual effort. American psychologist William James wrote, "our normal waking consciousness ... is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it ... lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded."Altering one's state of consciousness means escaping everyday, ego-centered, waking consciousness. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, the ability to forget oneself as the doer, to detach oneself from ego-centered consciousness, seems to be the essence of mastery of any skill. So, if one pursues knowledge of self, then this mastery almost certainly involves achieving states different from normal waking consciousness. The periodic desire to achieve altered states of consciousness seems a basic human drive, likened to sex and hunger. Dr. Weil also asserts that this drive is not socially or culturally based, but deals with a biological characteristic of our species. The need for periods of nonordinary consciousness begins to show at ages far too young to be identified with social conditioning.People have sought to alter consciousness from time immemorial. Kids spin around in circles to get dizzy; teens hyperventilate themselves to experience a "blackout;" runners describe a "high" from extreme exertion; musicians or avid listeners may realize they have been completely immersed in the musical moment; many people practice breathing exercises and meditation to achieve altered states; and, yes, some alter consciousness through drug use. Not only do these altered states induce "temporary and artificial joys," they also help us to form different perspectives and a greater understanding of the diversity of our interdependent society.It is curious that a primary method to achieve altered states of consciousness is drug use. While growing up, youngsters are shied away from spinning and whirling and hyperventilating - startling behavior to grown-ups - and eventually discover chemical methods to achieve the same effect. Kids gradually come to understand that chemical means can satisfy their drive to alter consciousness. Older youths observe the social acceptance of alcohol as an intoxicant and may also discover other substances considered more desirable to achieve altered states.I think that people experiment with drugs for the same reasons they engage in any activity aimed at alteration of consciousness - they make us feel good. This is not to say that drug use is the best way to achieve altered states, but some drugs do enjoy sustained approval as chemical means to alter consciousness. Drug use can be negative, abusive, when it interferes with the health or function of the individual. Many methods to achieve altered states have identifiable risks, and right now education is effective in helping folks make informed decisions about which methods to implement. Until altered states of consciousness are more thoroughly explored and alternative methods to achieve altered states are better promoted and supported, individuals will continue to satisfy their inner drive to periodically alter consciousness through the use of drugs.Curiously enough, it is the experimentation associated with this drive that has paved the way toward medicinal drug applications. The roots of medicinal drug use are experiment and experience. From recreation to spiritual discovery and growth to general curiosity, experimentation with drugs has given us experience and understanding. Many ancient cultures understood and catalogued the antiseptic and analgesic properties of indigenous plant life and the advent of the "scientific method" has allowed us to apply our knowledge to create acceptable medicinal drug applications.Education is the key. Understanding consciousness; gaining knowledge of self; recognizing the differences between use, abuse and addiction; knowing the risks and consequences of experimentation; accepting diversity and celebrating differences; taking responsibility for one's actions; making safe, smart choices. Those are the benefits of education.Change your perspective, take calculated risks, experience diversity, educate yourself and your children. Live a little and learn a little. Our collective experience shapes our reality, and our safe, smart experimentation evolves it. By Bill McConnellThe writer lives in State College.NewsHawk: Sledhead Published: May 10, 2000 1999 Centre Daily Times CannabisNews MapInc. Archives:
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Comment #4 posted by J. Bills on May 12, 2000 at 20:19:10 PT:
Incredible SS!
Whoa, that was awesome SuspectStereotype! Share with us some links you dig.
Shaeffer Online Drug Library
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Comment #3 posted by SuspectStereotype on May 11, 2000 at 14:33:51 PT
Human Nature
I agree with 4D, FoM This is an excellent article. It dovetails with a documentary I watched last night on the history of LSD. The cultural evolution that was the 1960's had many contributing causes. The result was a leap in human spirituality for a society not necessarily known for its spiritual self. For a brief time, racial and class boundries were broken down and a new age of reasoning was upon us. That scared the bejeebees out of the martini crowd who liked things just the way they were. They got Nixon to declare war on peace then and the bodycount has been rising ever since. But truth is eternal and sacrosanct. While it can be put down and buried under lies and deceit, it will always find its way back to the top.Our birthright was established before the world was born. We were once driven out of paradise for our arrogance and all of human history is mearly the story of our struggle to return.SS
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 10, 2000 at 21:28:10 PT
Thanks dddd
Your welcome dddd!I really think this is an excellent article. It is the kind of article I go off on my own little mind trip. I'm sure you understand. Isn't it ashame that some people will never understand this article? I really think so.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on May 10, 2000 at 21:21:55 PT
Thanx Again
Yet another outstanding article. Thank You FoM......dddd
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