Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

DRUGS, Mapping Mental States

Anthropologists tell us that all cultures use mind-altering drugs. That make sense in terms of the human condition - the conflict between ego and being, the human DMS (p.31). In that sense, mind-altering drugs are a common mode of alleviating the inherent contraction between the ego and the greater self. Drugs can assist in alleviate the crud of consciousness.

The expansive drugs, such as marijuana, LSD, peyote, psilocybin and a host of others, both ancient and synthetic, gained new popularity a few decades ago. They were used even by holistically inclined therapists, especially effective for alcoholism and other common pathologies.[ See Dr *Glasser's *PSYCHOLYTIC THERAPY, and others.] In the ebb and flow of the culture from contraction to expansion and back to Reagan-Bushism, they have decreased in popularity, being replaced with the more contractive drugs: amphetamines, cocaine and caffeine.

The establishment's freak-out reaction to (illegal) drugs is suspiciously enhancing to the problem: the government's drug enhancement program, occupies ten to twenty percent of the population and accounts for over half of prison inmates. Certainly addiction is a problem for ten or twenty percent of people who use the illicit drugs, but the current drug hysteria should be seen in a broader context as another aspect of the dying culture: people have need of a spiritual life, which modern abstract culture has despoiled. Indulging and enhancing the drug problem as a political and economic orgy is the core pathology. Perhaps it's another of society's Theatrical Imperatives, designed to intensify and entertain a bored population, to stimulate the economy and create jobs, to satisfy the hordes of the government bureaucracy and other clerks gone mad with power, CGMs. It looks like a modern MacCarthyism, another stress to a suffering contracted political culture. For a simple, if facetious, reform, see OVER 65, p.217.

Nations of the world have widely differing drug policies. In Singapore, drug users are whipped and dealers are quickly killed. In Britain, heroin addicts get free pharmaceutical grade stuff and lead rather normal lives. In Netherlands, joints like Conscious Dreams outlets make an art form of doping, like an up-scale pub.[ Described by Andrew *Giarelli in the March 99 issue of WORLD PRESS REVIEW, $27/yr at POB 228,10588-0228.]

The solution is to slow the game: decriminalize, perhaps add external costs to the price of the stuff as suggested in a recent book by the Dr. *Grinspoon, President of Harvard Medical School.[ Dr. Grinspoon suggests that a small tax would measure the external cost of opiates and cocaine, but because the damage from alcohol and tobacco is so severe, the tax would have to be lowered to what the market could bear - under the pressure of smuggling.] Then attend to the problems of the culture on a level adequate to their solution. In the short run, shift the money saved from the criminal professions into the helping professions. The deeper solution calls for culture design and the reconstruction of organic social life, ROSL.

Much work has been done on mind-altering drugs, both the physiology and the experience. Let's try to use the charts to simplify and compare the various effects in terms of the dynamic processes of the mind.

Much of the best illicit drug research has been done by the security agencies, and therefore may not be used or even mentioned in coffee table literature. As one civil libertarian said it, "The spooks have all the fun."

Consider the following D CHART OF DRUGS as an analysis of psycho-physiological process, and also of experience. Let the i scale measure the intensity either as experience or as physiological process, and the A scale as the degree of dissociation, D.

i i  9 þ   \              
  n  8 ³       \          high
  t  7 ³    wired  \               euphoric
  e  6 ³               \
  n  5 ³  freaky           X           spacey
  s  4 ³                       \   
  i  3 ³    paranoid               \      mellow
  t  2 ³                               \
  y  1 ³      wiped out          zonked    \ 
       0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9    A 
       Dissociation <---------------------> Accord

Caffeine is the drug of choice in modern abstract culture. Coffee, tea, cola, etc., all contain xanthenes which seem to act to block an inhibiting neural hormone, adenosine. This results in a stimulating effect called "getting wired".

Back in the 1940s researchers used spiders to test the various drugs. Under the influence of caffeine the spider worked harder spinning the web, but it was a tangle in one corner instead of a full web. The spider had lost the gestalt of the web, the meaning of the work. Thus caffeine is a most appropriate response for humans who are expected to work hard in their narrow context without indulging in a broader view or demanding a deeper meaning.

Assuming the person's mental state is at 5,5 on the chart, coffee will move the person up left on the isohealth line. Their intensity will increase on the vertical i scale, but their harmony will decrease on the horizontal dissociation-accord A scale. If the person is already somewhat dissociated, caffeine may give them the jitters, negating the value of the stimulating effect. Dr. Pimentel opines that six cups of coffee will elicit neurotic anxiety in normal people.

Alcohol is America's second drug of choice, but it doesn't fit easily on this chart. It seems to sedate the contracted controlling ego so that the person is less tense, more relaxed. This release is apt to allow angry people to be more angry, morose people to be more morose, etc. But much of the reaction depends on the particular social and general cultural context. For people who meditate, one way or another, alcohol has almost no effect, as if the ego has been expanded, leaving little for the alcohol to release. Meditation is a waste of good booze. On the chart, imagine a contracted ego structure, about 3,5, being released from this MS, up right toward euphoria, violence or sex, whatever the ego is controlling. But with an expanded ego structure, about 6,5, the release goes down the isohealth line. The 6,5s benefit from and prefer more expansive drugs.

Cannabis, from a rare herb which grows wild almost everywhere and is used by countless law-breakers, is an expansive drug. People are less apt to be angry, up left, more apt to be calm, to the right. Unfortunately, some contracted egos are apt to be threatened by such an action, resulting in distress and paranoia, especially when police are in the vicinity. Dr. Grinspoon and others assert that pot is the safest drug they have ever studied, that no one had ever died from it and it's addictive potential is low. However, we all know that it induces a relaxed and transcendent state that is inappropriate for the modern world that demands punctuality and uptightness for our economic and military warfare. But contradicting this point, the Jamaican's and others use it to work even harder cutting cane, and many of all cultures use it to enhance creativity in music and sex.

Heroin seems increasingly popular in recent years, partly because the price has dropped and production increased. Even though perhaps ten to twenty percent of the multitudes who use heroin recreationally become addicted to it, those who do seem to have permanent deleterious effects to their brain. Successful treatments in Britain and Switzerland prescribe pharmaceutical heroin or methadone enabling the addicted ones to lead normal healthy lives, provided they don't abuse themselves tobacco. With this regimen, most decrease their dose voluntarily and abandon the drug in about five years.

The new Afghanistan, now liberated from the Soviet Union, has become a prime producer and exporter of opiates and heroin. Poppy fields bloom eastward across the newly freed Central Asian Republics to Burma and Thailand. Even Latin America has joined this most lucrative market by producing and transporting. The heroin and cocaine trade is a major component in the Global Economy. Even though most profits are made within the consuming wealthy nations, huge sums trickle down to support the Third World economies: pay for their military and police forces involved in the Drug War, keep up interest payments on their growing debts to First World banks and nations, and pay for a large share of their trade-balancing imports.[ Many sources include THE *POLITICS OF HEROIN, Trick or Treason by Robert *Perry.]

The most common legal medicinal psychoactive drugs, the benzodiazapines - beginning with Milltown, through Librium, Valium, Xanax, Centrax, Klonopin and far beyond (perhaps including euphorics such as qualude and halcyon) - seem to be prescribed as `anti-neurotics', to relieve anxiety and tension. Unfortunately they are often addictive, but at least pharmaceutically pure and without random toxics.

Notice that when the patents on these drugs expire, their price drops somewhat, they are often abandoned, and most likely replaced with newer patented variations claimed to be `better'. These `benzies' are essentially sedatives, more mellowing, releasing the contracted ego, down right.

Antidepressant drugs are growing in popularity, with Prozac a best seller in the 1990s. The early Imipramine tricyclics seemed effective but with unpleasant side effects such as constipation (a depressive symptom in itself), blurred vision, dizziness, and so on. The newer Sinequan, Vivactil, Zoloft and a dozen others gradually replace the tricyclics as their patents expired.

A 1999 meta analysis of 264 studies of 32 different anti-depression compounds found that the "New drugs such as Prozac and old standbys such as Elavil are about equally effective ... slightly fewer side effects. ... In treatment of adults with major depression the study found that the old and new drugs were equally effective. ... favorable response in about half! the patients, compared with only 32 percent! taking a placebo. ... For other forms of depression, and for children and adolescents, the data on the new drugs `are insufficient to guide treatment decisions.'"[ `Meta-analysis' collects, evaluates and combines available studies - a difficult but fruitful procedure greatly enabled by the NET. This study by Health and Human Services Department's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research aimed to provide clinical guidelines. http:/www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2558871158-97b] So watch out! The common herb St. John's Wort, is widely used in Germany as an effective and less harmful boost from minor depression, but it is not expensive enough for US.

The antipsychotic drugs, the phenothiazines and their replacements, are strange and heavy sedatives. Beginning with thorazine, through compazine, stelazine, melarile, on to clozaril, halopent, olanzapine and beyond. A closer look at their chemistry is necessary to put them on the chart, but basically they move downward, lowering i, toward chemical lobotomy and artificial death. They are `dumbers'. When people scream and act up (as if demanding to be hugged) the old straight jacket is often replaced with these chemical restraints. Misbehavior is not tolerated, and standards of conduct are particularly rigid for the dispossessed.

The proliferation of market motivated drugs pose increasing threats to the naive popper not only by unmentioned side effects, unknown long term effects, but also by unfortunate synergistic effects of combining drugs, `piling on'. See WORST PILLS, BEST PILLS, A Consumers Guide to Avoiding Drug-induced Death or Illness by Sydney M *Wolfe, MD, and www.fda.gov for further information.

Anthropologists point out that most cultures have mind-expanding drugs such as psilocybin, mescaline, and now LSD. As ego expanding drugs, their movement on the chart is to the right, opening the mind, freeing the associations. In the extreme, they involve the temporary experience of the death of the ego, since ego control is lost. In stable cultures these drugs are appropriately used in religious activities, to alleviate the universal alienation of the ego.

But in modern abstract culture, they are not called `truth drugs' but `hallucinogens', because they distort the mass psychosis of media and culture. Though they are inherently less physically damaging than other drugs, the power of their forced expansion can damage the contracted egos of our vulnerable culture, especially since the support of organic social life is mostly missing. LSD and others were often used as therapy to help people out of the ruts of alcoholism and neurosis. Unfortunately, without careful guidance, these drugs can be extremely dangerous. A fragile proto-psychotic youngsters can fall over the edge if they have a bad trip without guidance or alleviation with niacin, sedatives or antipsychotic medication. Yet thousands have benefited profoundly from this chemically induced enlightenment and some continue to use it occasionally for self renewal.

One measure of the tragic pathology of advancing Modern Abstract Culture, it the gradual escalation against the expansive drugs. The position of the Drug Warriors is well based: expansive drugs are a profound threat to a contractive culture. Expansive drugs undermine the HOGs, the WEs, the CGMs, the RIDlys, the ELBYs - the entire array of contracted social, economic, political and cultural systems. It is well argued that marihuana and other drugs were a major factor in the resistance and ending of the South East Asian invasion.[ See the many recent books on these issues by ethnobotanist Wade *Davis and many others.] "The Sixties" marked a major change in the thinking of many Americans, but merely a glitch in the nefarious progress of MAC. As the second millennium ends in the cultural chaos of the Drug War, some saner heads strive to alleviate the damage, even to expand human understanding and use of these great gifts to humankind.

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