Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cognitive Sovereignty: Breaking Convention

There is a revolution occurring in the field of psychedelics. This weekend brought together a global gathering of academics, clinicians, psychonauts, artists and visionaries. With over six hundred switched on attendees the sheer verve, enthusiasm and energy of the resurgent movement is impossible to deny. There is no place for the tired cliches of the war on drugs, these people are not rambling burn outs, they mean business, are highly educated, and have the hard science behind them as well as embodying the messages of the plant teachers. This marks the beginning of a rennaissance in the psychedelic movement, one which by its sheer scale surprised the conference organisers and attendees alike. We are back with a vengeance....

The overwhelming evidence is in. Global drug policy is not based on the scientific evidence of benefits vs harm. This was demonstrated by the firing of Dr David Nutt who had the temerity to present the scientific proof to the UK government that the issue is not LSD and Ecstasy, but rather is alcohol and tobacco. This is an issue that Dr Julian Vayne confronts in XVI. For those unfamiliar with the issue, the benefit and harm matrix is provided below for a clear visual representation of the real impact of drugs. The research of Dr Nutt was backed up by all of the papers presented. It is essential that we propogate this knowledge.......

The state is against us, and all of the scientific research in the world, and all the incremental wheedling and calls for patience by organisations such as MAPS or the Beckley Foundation will not lead to legalisation. At best, this will give the military industrial complex some more tools for dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the broken soldiers back from the wars for oil.
Or worse still, instigate some state sanctioned control of supply to recognised therapists and respectable religions. This is anathema to us. Though there is undoubtably valuable work being done by MAPS and the Beckley Foundation, we do not accept that these groups speak for us. Nor will we let them usurp that role..........

Click the Title Link for the full article

Last night's drunken idiocy following the Stanley Cup game disturbing the peace, brought home the significance of this great article from the Scarlet Imprint I received this morning.

As another side (the ugly side) to the landscape, take a look at today's gleanings from a close neighbor in Salem Oregon. The American drug insanity is the cause of their spiritual depravity. Without these substances in our diet we can not access our rightful destiny to spiritual unity with the life form of the Universe.
We can count on at least eight teenagers DYING EVERY DAY due to alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, because alcohol is the morally-condoned government-approved method of getting high. Their parents do it, their teachers do it, and law enforcement does it. Most everybody gets drunk, sadly.

Because adults selfishlessly enjoy drinking alcohol, they don’t want anything to change on that horizon. Even though it kills children every single day, of every single month, of every single year. Instead, let’s talk about pot. It’s a much safer subject.

So safe in fact, that it does not pose any risk to society whatsoever. While eight kids died from drinking today, and will tomorrow, NONE will die from marijuana use.

I have asked some deep metaphysical stuff of my friends today. It was one of those stressful days where life's little rude moments seem to coalesce into the straw that broke the Camel's back. I now belatedly remember a friend saying, "What kind of a life will that be?" He was referring to my vocalization about something I was then mulling over. "It'll be nothing but teen-aged sniveling, and dirty towels/hair plugging up the works!" The trouble is I never listen.

He was a wise one and I miss all of my neighbors! The pox on the "rat," but it was my chances I was taking. Full liability is mine, as well.

I take heart in knowing that when all is said and done and the chips are counted I will be found to be on the side that is right on this issue, that I did the least harm compared to the government.

The very solid argument first developed by Casey William Hardison and the legal foundation in search of Justice for Casey: Drug Equality Alliance

Please don't forget to give to Casey's cause.

These guys at the "DEA" are true activists. Although I may be a recipient of their generosity, I am honestly astonished at the level of commitment- let me spell that out- unpaid time and effort, that this organization has donated to the cause of achieving Justice.

Remember this spending of a few bucks on your part could pay off in you gaining your freedom! Please find their donate button and spend freely. Here is the new battle cry....
Smoke one gram less per week and send $10 to the cause of this wonderful organization or Free Casey cause.
No one over there (Europe-Great Britain) is overly concerned with Bud the "silly" Oracle, or, Klaus Kaczor and his gang of "demented" men, it is all about getting their wonderful perception of the law in front of a court anywhere in the western court. The argument is given during the last part in the video below

And here in the blog again:
Unconscious social norms v conscious law:

As a species, humans are social animals in the process of evolving consciousness. Social animals unconsciously adopt social norms by means of imitation of role models. This ensures social coherence based on consensus – copy others and you’ll fit in. Likewise interacting human individuals may unconsciously imitate each other’s body language, ‘mirroring’, as means of social coherence. Unconscious consensus norms may be irrational, unconnected to objective evidence and reasoning, and may be unfair, applied selectively to the powerless but not to the powerful, as in scapegoating. Social animals are ruled by the powerful, based on survival of the fittest and self-interest (e.g. selfish genes).

Unlike animals, humans have the ability to make conscious decisions based on objective rationality (the objective assessment of all relevant factors and how they are linked logically by cause and effect) and subjective fairness, (the subjective balancing of value judgments since a decision or action may be good for one group but bad for another). Humans can then establish conscious rules or laws that define how their social group will operate, the limits to social behaviour. Conscious laws can be far more efficient than social norms because they can adapt to our changing society far quicker than unconscious social norms. Human societies are evolving from being based on the rule of the powerful majority, determined by social norms, towards being based on the rule of conscious law, determined by rationality and fairness.

Given their incomplete evolution of consciousness, humans find their decision making inevitably influenced by both unconscious social norms and conscious social laws – ‘if everyone drives above the speed limit, so will I’. The design of laws may be irrational and unfair if they are overly influenced by unconscious social norms; alternatively laws consciously designed to be rational and fair may be interpreted and applied irrationally and unfairly.

The relevance for drug regulation is this: the discrimination between consumers & traders of legally-available drugs and consumers & traders of 'controlled' drugs is based on unconscious social norms and the rule of the powerful majority whereas the law itself, the Misuse of Drugs Act, is consciously intended to be evidence-based, rational and fair. So our fundamental claim is that the law is not implemented in accordance with the law but in accordance with social norms that favour the majority at the expense of minorities.

The relevance for drug regulation is this:

Through the Misuse of Drugs Act Parliament has given Government the legal power to restrict individual rights for the sole legal purpose of reducing harm to society from drug consumption.

There is no indication in the MDA text that Government should exercise their legal power unequally between drugs used by the majority of voters and drugs used by minorities. Government appears biased, using its legal power for a political purpose (gaining the support of the majority of voters) rather than the legal purpose (reducing drug harm).

The whole crux of the argument is simple and so obvious. It boils down to the converse of this plainly stated fact:
What is the reasoning behind exempting the most dangerous drugs (Alcohol and tobacco) from the scrutiny of the drugs and substances act, if the act is a neutral instrument for social health purposes? From there you will come to the question "Does the act require prohibition of anything?" Next you come upon "What rational reasoning is it based on to implement effective control of all substances according to their danger to society?" "For the safety of society, why would you treat the most dangerous substances as if they are insignificant?" "Under law must we be treated equally and not arbitrarily?"

People can't see it, as did the natives in the Americas not see the ships of the Spanish when they first arrived. The way we have come to understand this Prohibitionist reality via the "Mindset of Prohibition" is that such a thing doesn't exist, therefore it can't be there. Aren't drugs either legal or illegal?

I remember the Prosecutor misnaming the MDMA as Cocaine (I guess it is the same thing to her) in a summation to the Judge and almost groaning when saying "There was almost a pound of Cocaine, your honor." All the MDMA I ever sold, didn't touch the damage a single person drunk on Stanley Cup beers did last night by disturbing the peace, or, even come close to the physical damage this poison does to each victim. The True facts are on the chart above about how dangerous MDMA is to you and others, not in the Federal Prosecutor's mouth.

Take a good look there Judge Rideout and see how government funded studies compare the relative dangers of these two substances and tell me who is killing people with their substances, honestly. Certainly not those selling MDMA.

It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.

Voltaire, 1752

Here is one of Casey Hardison's favorite songs

The Semantics of Prohibition by Giancarlo Arnao

Giancarlo Arnao's essay on the semantics of prohibition analyses the role of language, especially in the ambit of law and politics, in the systematic demonisation of (some) drugs and users of (some) drugs, from the inaccurate use of terms such as "narcotic" in international conventions, to the meanings of "abuse", "addiction" and "non-medical use". This essay is a great introduction to the way our understanding of "drugs" is socially constructed and politically biased.

Here is an oldy but a goody!

Proemium by Jonathan Ott
Perhaps with all ouor modern knowledge we do not need the divine mushrooms any more. Or do we need them more than ever? Some are shocked that the key even to religion might be reduced to a mere drug. On the other hand, the drug is as mysterious as it ever was... (Wasson 1961)

Only recently have some academic anthropologists begun to consider contempporary drug subcultures to be worthy of formal study (Adler 1985; Holden 1989a).

I will neither promote nor inveigh against contemporary non-traditional use of entheogenic drugs. True, some of the drugs discussed in this book are illegal, and there are those who think it irresponsible to discuss this subject without denouncing their illicit use. On the other hand, the bulk of the compounds studied in this book are legal, and there is no question that there are presently in the United States alone at least a million users of entheogenic drugs, legal and illegal (Goldstein & Kalant 1990), and it is to these psychonauts (Junger 1970), as well as to interested scientists, that this book is directed. There is no need to encourage would-be users to sample the entheogens- the drugs have their devotees, and in any case the current supply is probably insufficient to meet the demand of established users (Blanco 1993).

In this exordium, however, I will denounce in no uncertain terms the futile, counter-productive and ill-advised proscription of entheogenic drugs by the governments of the United States and other countries. As Baruch Spinoza so presciently put it:

All laws which can be violated without doing any one any injury are laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the desires and passions of men that, on the contrary, they direct and incite men's thoughts the more toward those very objects; for we always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. And men of leisure are never deficient in the ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate things which cannot be entirely forbidden... He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lesssen it.

It is self-evident that the millions of contemporary users of proscribed entheogenic drugs are laughing at the laws presuming to forbid them, and that they are far from deficient in the ingenuity needed to outwit those laws. It has ever been so with laws presuming to regulate the legitimate appetites of human beings; and there is no question that such laws represent an abuse of governmental power. As the great libertarian Edmund Atwill Wasson wrote in 1914, in a critique of the prohibition of alcohol in the United States (Wasson 1914):

It is one thing to furnish the law, and another to furnish the force needed to ensure obedience. That is why we have so many dead-letter laws in this country, --we forget that a law is not self-enforcing.

In theory, law is the instrument of popular will in democratic countries, and in practice has been used as a weapon by majorities to repress and harass minorities, especially laws against drugs which are associated with those groups (Helmer 1975; Musto 1973). The prohibition of alcohol in the United States is an exceptional case of laws fomented by a fanatical and active minority resulting in the harassment and repression of the majority (Musto 1973; Wasson 1914). When a law is sufficiently unpopular, as was the Constitutional amendment prohibiting alcohol manufacturing and sale for ludibund purposes in the United States, the people in theory will rise to overturn it. Would that it were so with unjust laws, or unenforceable laws! When a government proves itself all-too-willing to attempt to "furnish the force needed to ensure obedience" to unenforceable and (arguably) unjust laws, then the very freedoms or "human rights" on which democratic rule is ostensibly founded are jeopardized (Shulgin 1991). This is the case with the contemporary "War on Drugs" and the unprecedented intrusions into personal liberty which it inexorably occasions. It is a case where the "cure" is far worse than the "disease"; in which the proposed "therapy" is toxic and will prove fatal if administered in sufficiently high dosage. While the use of the drugs this shock therapy addresses continues unabated or indeed increases, freedom and dignity are on the ropes, and in danger of going down for the count.

I will adumbrate four different lines of argument against the contemporary prohibition of entheogenic drugs and, by extension, prohibitions of other drugs- from alcohol, caffeine or nicotine (all of which have been illicit substances in the past) to cocaine, heroin or marijuana (all of which have been legal far longer than they have been controlled substances). These four lines of argument might be grouped under the following headings: 1) scientific; 2) practical or legal; 3) moral; and 4) economic. I will also pose the following question: "why is it that western society cannot cope with euphoria and ecstasy?" This question is at the heart of the prohibition of entheogens. Although they are disguised as "Public Health Laws," the strictures against the entheogens are first and foremost limitations on the practice of religion in a broad sense; or in a broader sense still, are attempts to enshrine in law a certain perverse brand of what once was called "natural philosophy." I call it science, and the modern laws against entheogenic drugs are manifestly anti-scientific and indeed represent "crimes against nature."