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zhao
19-05-2010, 05:11 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/science/12psychedelics.html

about time i would say. what say you? particularly you know who

Mr. Tea
19-05-2010, 05:31 PM
That's pretty cool - anything that can help free up open-minded psychiatric practitioners who want to explore the benefits of this kind of treatment can only be a good thing, in my (obviously non-expert) opinion.

Good find.

lanugo
20-05-2010, 02:19 AM
Interesting development. However, given the amazing capacity of the capitalist system to absorb any kind of seemingly emancipatory trend in society and exploit it for its own sustenance I could imagine that a wider mainstream acceptance of hallucinogens may result in a kind of commercialisation and banalization of the psychedelic experience: epiphanies on prescription. The allowance of hallucinogenic drugs may very well be a deliberate measure of social engineering to counter wide-spread depression and unhappiness. It's perfectly practical for the powerholders that now meaning of life may be directly administered by means of pharmaceuticals. It makes perfect sense in its unsurpassable cynicism. Just think of the way everybody is hooked on "soma" in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2010, 10:39 AM
Hmm...I can see where you're coming from, I think, but I think to automatically assume this is some terribly cynical use of psychedelics is rather, well, cynical.

Remember that, while there were people like Ken Kesey who went around giving LSD away for free, people were still buying and selling it in the '60s like any other commodity. And magic mushrooms were being openly sold in markets and head shops in the UK until a couple of years ago. I don't think this has any real impact on the profundity or otherwise of the experiences catalysed by drugs like these.

And is there anything especially wrong with trying to "counter wide-spread depression and unhappiness"? Less unhappiness would be a good thing, no? Or is this a k-punky sort of protest that we should be depressed and unhappy because kapitalism is inherently depressing, and it would be somehow 'wrong' or counter-revolutionary not to be unhappy until the dragon Kapital is slain and we're all finally free?

Also, isn't the 'soma' a kind of stupifying, vaguely euphoric Valium-like sedative? I've not read BNW but from what I know of it, soma sounds like the exact opposite of a psychedelic.

Woebot
20-05-2010, 11:58 AM
Interesting development. However, given the amazing capacity of the capitalist system to absorb any kind of seemingly emancipatory trend in society and exploit it for its own sustenance I could imagine that a wider mainstream acceptance of hallucinogens may result in a kind of commercialisation and banalization of the psychedelic experience: epiphanies on prescription. The allowance of hallucinogenic drugs may very well be a deliberate measure of social engineering to counter wide-spread depression and unhappiness. It's perfectly practical for the powerholders that now meaning of life may be directly administered by means of pharmaceuticals. It makes perfect sense in its unsurpassable cynicism. Just think of the way everybody is hooked on "soma" in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

yeah. scary but probably right on. i've done a certain amount of hallucinogens and its always struck me (in the cold light of day) actually how hugely they work with one's imagination - the emancipatory part of the experience seems actually a part of their elative narcotic effect, the effects which one usually associates with morphine derivatives (ie not halluciongenic aspects).

i mean, not to diss anyone (or myself even) but when people saying they spoke to green dwarves from space there is usually an element of creativity and elaboration in the recounting. i mean you could counter by saying that i cant have had any full-blown visual experiences, but i did experience things like big words written over everything-but even things like that, i dunno.

people are better off without drugs i reckon.

has anyone seen that hilarious clip with jack black - where he discovers halfway through he hasnt actually had any acid? dunno if this is the one - at work so i cant check (tee hee)

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/647NxThCfy8&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/647NxThCfy8&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

droid
20-05-2010, 12:26 PM
I dunno. I think the spiritual/revelationary aspects of psychedelics are inherently opposed to co-option... Im not sure how you could co-opt the destruction of the ego TBH, and I don't see how increased empathy and connectivity with others can be anything but opposed to capitalism. Ecstasy, weed, sure... but LSD and mushrooms actually force you to think about things in a way that other drugs don't. In my day I looked at acid and the associated ego-death as a mental spring clean or internal therapy session as much as anything else.

@Woebot. I cant speak for anyone else, but I think the psychedelic experiences that have the most lasting impacts are the ones that happen in your head through thought, without external stimuli - not the curtains melting or whatever (although that can be a lot of fun too).

zhao
20-05-2010, 12:32 PM
I dunno. I think the spiritual/revelationary aspects of psychedelics are inherently opposed to co-option... Im not sure how you could co-opt the destruction of the ego TBH, and I don't see how increased empathy and connectivity with others can be anything but opposed to capitalism.

good point.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2010, 01:46 PM
I agree with droid. Anyone who's ever really tripped, I mean tripped balls, knows that the true value of psychedelics lies in what they can do to your consciousness at an extremely deep, almost ontological level. The visuals, as beautiful as they are, are essentially cosmetic.

massrock
20-05-2010, 02:02 PM
Im not sure how you could co-opt the destruction of the ego TBH,
I agree with most of what you say there but context matters.

http://www.techdigest.tv/charles%20manson%20200%20pix.jpg

massrock
20-05-2010, 02:07 PM
I think one thing a study like that shows is that it's beneficial to sometimes unhook from habitual modes of experiencing. I was quite interested in those studies a few years ago that showed low doses of Ketamine to be effective in treating stubborn cases of serious depression. I wonder what happened with that. As far as I know they still resort to things like ECT- surely Ketamine (or psilocybin)'s got to be worth a go.

droid
20-05-2010, 02:11 PM
tripped balls

lol


I agree with most of what you say there but context matters.

Of course, there is potential for manipulation, but in the societal sense - as soma, psychedelics just couldnt work...


I think one thing a study like that shows is that it's beneficial to sometimes unhook from habitual modes of experiencing. I was quite interested in those studies a few years ago that showed low doses of Ketamine to be effective in treating stubborn cases of serious depression. I wonder what happened with that. As far as I know they still resort to things like ECT- surely Ketamine (or psilocybin)'s got to be worth a go.

Yeah, for sure... I was editing some instructional video relating to ECT administration there for work recently... chilling stuff.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2010, 02:17 PM
I know there's a good deal of interest in using psychedelics, and also less 'far-out' drugs like MDMA, in 'end-of-life care' for patients with things like terminal cancer. And on the physical side, low doses of psilocybin and LSD (like, too small even for there to be much of a subjective effect) have been very effective in treating cluster headaches, IIRC.

zhao
20-05-2010, 02:20 PM
context matters.

also very true.

the destruction of ego can of course mean a void into which Capitalism or indeed any doctrine can be inserted. the unhinging of habitual perceptual patterns can be repurposed toward any end.

we only have to remember the history of Zen Buddhism and Fascism/Milliatarism in Japan. there the absence of Ego led to not freedom but absolute obedience to authority, beyond good and evil meant doing evil, etc.

massrock
20-05-2010, 02:22 PM
Well the ego returns, of course, and the reintegration process is important. The study linked above seems fairly sensible as these things go.

massrock
20-05-2010, 02:25 PM
Remember that, while there were people like Ken Kesey who went around giving LSD away for free
Sometimes without even being asked! ;)


And on the physical side, low doses of psilocybin and LSD (like, too small even for there to be much of a subjective effect) have been very effective in treating cluster headaches, IIRC.
I think one of the things Albert H. was researching when he synthesised LSD-25 was migraine treatments.

bandshell
20-05-2010, 02:34 PM
I think it's great they're taking an interest in it again. In general, it's good to explore the possible benefits of most things and there are certainly benefits to hallucinogens.

zhao
20-05-2010, 02:38 PM
I think it's great they're taking an interest in it again. In general, it's good to explore the possible benefits of most things and there are certainly benefits to hallucinogens.

what i know about Dr. Leary was that he was very much respected in the medical community until LSD became illegal, at which point he began to be seen as a hack.

have heard accounts of his treatments of criminals with a very high long term success rate...

massrock
20-05-2010, 02:41 PM
we only have to remember the history of Zen Buddhism and Fascism/Milliatarism in Japan. there the absence of Ego led to not freedom but absolute obedience to authority, beyond good and evil meant doing evil, etc.
Yeah - the natural desire or need to experience oneself as part of a greater whole can be diverted.

But in the case of fascism it's not really absence of ego at all - rather a result of ego projecting it's struggle to maintain an incorrect (delusional) sense of self in the face of vast evidence to the contrary. Sometimes the drama plays itself out on a national scale...

zhao
20-05-2010, 02:59 PM
But in the case of fascism it's not really absence of ego at all - rather a result of ego projecting it's struggle to maintain an incorrect (delusional) sense of self in the face of vast evidence to the contrary. Sometimes the drama plays itself out on a national scale...

right, and Zen Buddhist teachings and discipline played a vital role in fascism and milliatarism's assimilation of egos on a national scale...

lanugo
20-05-2010, 03:13 PM
My point is that the profound experiences of gratification and life-affirmation hallucinogens undoubtedly provide, can very well be integrated in the diversion machinery of Capitalism. What individuals may treasure as a "life-changing revelation", is, in fact, just routinely prescribed palliation against prevalent depression which naturally arises from the meaninglessness of life in consumerist society. Just as meditation and yoga, originally aiming at leaving all worldly affairs behind, are now used by all kinds of yuppies as relaxation techniques to become even more efficient.

Oh, and soma is definitively described as a strong psychedelic drug in BNW. By the way, the depiction of the "orgy-porgys" in the same novel is very reminiscent of a night in Berghain or wherever. I honestly believe that in a couple of decades Western society could end up looking very similar to Huxley's dystopian vision.

massrock
20-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Is that a criticism of 'Zen' zhao?

Do you think it's fair to say that was a result of some kind of huge misappropriation, or a problem with taking things out of context*. Or rather that fascist ideologues found ways of interpreting certain Zen notions that bolstered or offered them justification for how they were coming to see the world and what they wanted to do.

As for the assimilation of a nation, well certain conditions were in place (I suppose we're talking about Germany) and those guys did understand something about the psychology of that, but only in a very limited and tragic way of course.

But anyway, I think it's fair to say that if someone has genuinely experienced themselves as the greater whole, and integrated the experience correctly, or rather integrated their ego correctly, that experience is not up for co-option at all. The mass of the German people in the 1930/40s had presumably not had that experience but were being led by semi-clever people who did at least have some knowledge of the darker sides of human psychology (that being where they were living) and how to manipulate it.

* I mean maybe something like (for example) an insistence on the absence of certain moral truths has an original developmental context where it's balanced with other Buddhist ideas.

droid
20-05-2010, 03:26 PM
My point is that the profound experiences of gratification and life-affirmation hallucinogens undoubtedly provide.

?

Not sure what hallucinogens you've been taking, and everyone's experiences are different of course, but I cant really agree with this summary at all... One of the things that strikes most LSD users is how a tiny chemical change in their brain can fundamentally alter their perception and thought processes, and as a result how insignificant and subjective 'personality' is to begin with... having your mind taken to pieces and reassembled is not really 'gratifying' or particularly 'life affirming' IMO, in fact this process is what causes so much damage to those who abuse psychedelics. Psychedlics aren't like ecstasy, the experience stays with you...


What individuals may treasure as a "life-changing revelation", is, in fact, just routinely prescribed palliation against prevalent depression which naturally arises from the meaninglessness of life in consumerist society

I haven't meant to make any Leary type claims here, but I have to say that this strikes me as both proscriptive and extremely dismissive of individual experience.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2010, 03:28 PM
My point is that the profound experiences of gratification and life-affirmation [something] undoubtedly provide[s], can very well be integrated in the diversion machinery of Capitalism.

OK, I see what you're saying. But the trouble is, pretty much anything worthwhile can be substituted for [something] in that sentence, can't it? Art, music, intellectual discourse, sex, child rearing, food, religious worship, humour, sport...see what I mean? Taken to its logical conclusion, you might as well just kill yourself.

Edit: and (again) I agree with droid - real psychedelic episodes are typically extremely challenging, even deeply traumatic, albeit in a way that can be beneficial or 'healing' in the long run. I think ecstasy is psychedelic too, mind, although in a different way from acid or mushrooms. I really don't see how it's in any way conducive to capitalism or consumerism. Who comes round from a trip convinced they need a faster car or a bigger TV?

massrock
20-05-2010, 03:31 PM
My point is that the profound experiences of gratification and life-affirmation hallucinogens undoubtedly provide, can very well be integrated in the diversion machinery of Capitalism. What individuals may treasure as a "life-changing revelation", is, in fact, just routinely prescribed palliation against prevalent depression which naturally arises from the meaninglessness of life in consumerist society.
There is that, but as droid and tea say, a psychedelic experience can go beyond that.

Mind you, I would also say that those experiences are available without drugs, but drugs can be a much quicker route if you need convincing.

massrock
20-05-2010, 03:38 PM
Just as meditation and yoga, originally aiming at leaving all worldly affairs behind, are now used by all kinds of yuppies as relaxation techniques to become even more efficient.
This isn't true.

Of course you can use meditation and yoga for relaxation, that's great - no bad thing in my book. But these things are not, and never were about 'leaving all worldly affairs behind.', at all. There are much quicker and easier ways of doing that if that's what you want to do!

droid
20-05-2010, 03:47 PM
Who comes round from a trip convinced they need a faster car or a bigger TV?

TBF, If you've spent your trip playing Starwing or SFII on the SNES, or driving around on the beach in the middle of the night like a lunatic while your friends cling to the roof laughing manically (I nearly died btw), then you might come to these conclusions. :D

massrock
20-05-2010, 03:48 PM
I think ecstasy is psychedelic too, mind, although in a different way from acid or mushrooms. I really don't see how it's in any way conducive to capitalism or consumerism. Who comes round from a trip convinced they need a faster car or a bigger TV?
I think E can be good on a sort of emotional therapy level but I'm not sure if it can ever really 'take you to the other side' by itself. Along with 8-12 hours of dancing, yes. But all those profound experiences really don't have anything to do with the drugs as such, the drugs just help you to get out of the way so they can happen. Something like that.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2010, 03:57 PM
TBF, If you've spent your trip playing Starwing or SFII on the SNES, or driving around on the beach in the middle of the night like a lunatic while your friends cling to the roof laughing manically (I nearly died btw), then you might come to these conclusions. :D

Haha, everything comes back to SFII in the end, doesn't it? The Great Leveller.

Edit: yes massrock, very true - that's why I talked about the kinds of experience psychedelics can "catalyse", not "produce". Set'n'setting maaan, set'n'setting!

massrock
20-05-2010, 04:08 PM
Can I mention this here: http://thespiritmolecule.com/gDMT.html

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 06:09 PM
This just in: Scientists use organic compounds that they developed and refined in the first place in order to regulate neurochemistry! Holy o chem batman!

This is not new, nor is it very surprising. LSD or any dopiminergic compound is going to have excellent potential for the treatment of idiopathic/neuropathic pain.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 06:14 PM
OK, I see what you're saying. But the trouble is, pretty much anything worthwhile can be substituted for [something] in that sentence, can't it? Art, music, intellectual discourse, sex, child rearing, food, religious worship, humour, sport...see what I mean? Taken to its logical conclusion, you might as well just kill yourself.

^This. And- oh please.

Denying people medical treatments that work because it is going to tarnish the aura of authenticity you imagine surrounds your recreational drug experience is -- about as selfish and ludicrous as anything I've ever heard in my life.

It's about as logical as saying homosexual marriage is going to ruin straight marriage.

I suppose addicts shouldn't get methadone because that might make the wholesome heroin experience less fucking romantic for junkies.

Epic. Fail.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 06:19 PM
Why wouldn't psychedelics survive the pharmacological reappropriation of substances that were cultivated as medicine to begin with. Yup, that's even before contemporary Europeans "discovered" that it's a good time of a Friday night.

How about ecstasy? This was a drug developed by the medical community that was then appropriated for recreational abuse. But I guess that's ok... the reverse isn't...

massrock
20-05-2010, 06:23 PM
This just in: Scientists use organic compounds that they developed and refined in the first place in order to regulate neurochemistry! Holy o chem batman!
I don't think scientists developed psilocybin.

But the news here is that they are once again allowed to research the use of those compounds and are doing so in a sensible way, no?

This is not new, nor is it very surprising. LSD or any dopiminergic compound is going to have excellent potential for the treatment of idiopathic/neuropathic pain.
Maybe that's one way it works. Can you get a prescription for it?

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 06:28 PM
I don't think scientists developed psilocybin.

But the news here is that they are once again allowed to research the use of those compounds and are doing so in a sensible way, no?

Maybe that's one way it works. Can you get a prescription for it?

Psilocybin is the 'active ingredient' in mushrooms. But you can synthesize it in a lab, and plenty of people have/do.

People were using psilocybin, ayahuasca, yage, marijuana, etc., as medicine for thousands of years, long before capitalism was around.

massrock
20-05-2010, 06:49 PM
I know all those things. In fact that means people were using psilocybin before scientists were around, depending on your definition. I suppose shamans were probably the first scientists.

You said :


This just in: Scientists use organic compounds that they developed and refined in the first place in order to regulate neurochemistry! Holy o chem batman!

Am I just being pedantic in saying that scientists didn't develop psilocybin?

(I'm all for it btw)

droid
20-05-2010, 07:05 PM
^This. And- oh please.

Denying people medical treatments that work because it is going to tarnish the aura of authenticity you imagine surrounds your recreational drug experience is -- about as selfish and ludicrous as anything I've ever heard in my life.

It's about as logical as saying homosexual marriage is going to ruin straight marriage.

I suppose addicts shouldn't get methadone because that might make the wholesome heroin experience less fucking romantic for junkies.

Epic. Fail.

http://biobreak.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/facepalm.jpg

If you took the time to read through the thread youd see that no-one is against the idea of psychedelics being used in medical and psychiatric treatment, in fact, the general consensus is that the renewal of their use in treatment is a positive thing.

Tea's post was in reference to the idea that psychedleics could be co-opted and used as a societal pacifier, as Soma - just another theraputic method to shore up capitalist structures, not in the treatment of mental illness.

But far be it from me to co-opt your utterly predictable and reactionary bollocks though. Id save your 'epic fails' for a time when you actually read the thread in question. The irony quotient gets just to much to handle otherwise...

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:07 PM
I know all those things. In fact that means people were using psilocybin before scientists were around, depending on your definition. I suppose shamans were probably the first scientists.

You said :



Am I just being pedantic in saying that scientists didn't develop psilocybin?

(I'm all for it btw)

Wasn't the article linked to about LSD? When I said develop, I meant LSD. Most new research is with LSD, not psilocybin. When I said refined, I was thinking mostly of psilocybin and related compounds. Research isn't done using actual mushrooms... they make medical grade psilocybin for that...

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:08 PM
If you took the time to read through the thread youd see that no-one is against the idea of psychedelics being used in medical and psychiatric treatment, in fact, the general consensus is that the renewal of their use in treatment is a positive thing.

Tea's post was in reference to the idea that psychedleics could be co-opted and used as a societal pacifier, as Soma - just another theraputic method to shore up capitalist structures, not in the treatment of mental illness.

But far be it from me to co-opt your utterly predictable and reactionary bollocks though. Id save your 'epic fails' for a time when you actually read the thread in question. The irony quotient gets just to much to handle otherwise...

I did read the thread, and it was ridiculous. Mr. Tea made some good points (which is why I told him "^This"--maybe it's you who needs to read more carefully). Lanugo and Woebot said things that I think are fundamentally illogical.

Soma is used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, insomnia, and muscular/back pain. It's no more inherently "capitalistic" than Tylenol is. It's no more implicated in "pacifying" "society" than ibuprofen is. (Unless you're talking about fictional Soma from BNW? Yes yes, medication, it's all about pacifying rather than treating people. Tell me something I haven't heard a million times from 9th grade stoners).

I love it when people make big sweeping, generalizations about fields they know absolutely nothing about.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:10 PM
Interesting development. However, given the amazing capacity of the capitalist system to absorb any kind of seemingly emancipatory trend in society and exploit it for its own sustenance I could imagine that a wider mainstream acceptance of hallucinogens may result in a kind of commercialisation and banalization of the psychedelic experience: epiphanies on prescription. The allowance of hallucinogenic drugs may very well be a deliberate measure of social engineering to counter wide-spread depression and unhappiness. It's perfectly practical for the powerholders that now meaning of life may be directly administered by means of pharmaceuticals. It makes perfect sense in its unsurpassable cynicism. Just think of the way everybody is hooked on "soma" in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.

Utterly predictable. And downright ridiculous.

massrock
20-05-2010, 07:22 PM
Soma is used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, insomnia, and muscular/back pain. It's no more inherently "capitalistic" than Tylenol is. It's no more implicated in "pacifying" "society" than ibuprofen is.
In your FACE, Huxley.

(yes they were talking about fictional Soma)

massrock
20-05-2010, 07:23 PM
Wasn't the article linked to about LSD?
The link is still there. God, am I just being cruel now?

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:28 PM
The link is still there. God, am I just being cruel now?

Yeah, and the NYTimes has only run about a gazillion of these articles in the past year or so. I've read all of them, so I didn't bother clicking on the link. Most of the rush to rediscover hallucinogens after the gov lightened restrictions has been focused on LSD, so far.

I'd guess that LSD is probably more a little more promising an avenue because its dopimanergic effects are longer lasting and at high concentrations could work without causing a "trip." Would be very nice if it did help with migraines... I'd take it in a heartbeat over the alternatives (opiates, triptans, anticonvulsants, etc).

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:32 PM
In your FACE, Huxley.

(yes they were talking about fictional Soma)

It amuses me, the hypocrisy of people who want to be able to take their NSAIDs, and their antibiotics, and their immunizations, and chemotherapy when they have cancer, and smoke their weed, and take their vitamins, get the AIDS cocktail if they need it, etc. etc. Science isn't capitalistical then, it's just dandy. It's only when the medicine that treats those other people is discussed that people suddenly find medical treatment modalities utterly dispensable and socially reprehensible.

Strange how that works.

Personally, I think anyone who has the means to make a medicine that works and denies it to someone suffering a medical malady should be legally punished. But, you know, I'm a capitalist pig and a reactionary for caring about medical conditions and pain.

massrock
20-05-2010, 07:46 PM
I'd guess that LSD is probably more a little more promising an avenue because its dopimanergic effects are longer lasting and at high concentrations could work without causing a "trip."
In the description of that study they seem to be suggesting that they think the trip is part of it.

It amuses me, the hypocrisy of people who want to be able to take their NSAIDs, and their antibiotics, and their immunizations, and smoke their weed, and take their vitamins, get the AIDS cocktail if they need it, etc. etc. Science isn't capitalistical then, it's just dandy. It's only when the medicine that treats those other people is discussed that people suddenly find medical treatment modalities utterly dispensable and socially reprehensible.
I don't think anyone here has suggested that science is capitalistic in itself. Lanugo said something about how some drugs could be 'co-opted' as pacifiers but, oh wait droid already said that.

And it wasn't what Huxley was saying, obv. I don't think he was anti-science for one thing. He was commenting more on human weakness and how he saw the desire for comfort and distraction as leading to a willing embrace of oppression.

droid
20-05-2010, 07:48 PM
Oh dear.



Soma is used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, insomnia, and muscular/back pain. It's no more inherently "capitalistic" than Tylenol is. It's no more implicated in "pacifying" "society" than ibuprofen is. (Unless you're talking about fictional Soma from BNW? Yes yes, medication, it's all about pacifying rather than treating people. Tell me something I haven't heard a million times from 9th grade stoners).

So you read the thread but somehow missed the repeated context in which 'Soma' was used as well as the clear references to Huxley and Brave New world?


I love it when people make big sweeping, generalizations about fields they know absolutely nothing about.

heh. Yeah, i hate that too.

droid
20-05-2010, 07:50 PM
Oh dear.



Soma is used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, insomnia, and muscular/back pain. It's no more inherently "capitalistic" than Tylenol is. It's no more implicated in "pacifying" "society" than ibuprofen is. (Unless you're talking about fictional Soma from BNW? Yes yes, medication, it's all about pacifying rather than treating people. Tell me something I haven't heard a million times from 9th grade stoners).

So you read the thread but somehow missed the repeated context in which 'Soma' was used as well as the references to Huxley and Brave New world?


I love it when people make big sweeping, generalizations about fields they know absolutely nothing about.

hahahaha. Yeah, i love that too.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:54 PM
So you read the thread but somehow missed the repeated context in which 'Soma' was used as well as the refernces to Huxley and Brave New world?


Yeah, I totally "missed" it. That's why I noted in my post that I noticed it. Because I didn't notice. I'm really into writing about things I don't notice.

Soma is an older medication that often gets lumped in with other "bad" drugs like valium. It wouldn't have been at all strange in the context of this discussion for someone to bring it up. Well, at least, it wouldn't have been strange for someone who has a shadow of a clue about pharmacology to bring it up.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:57 PM
In the description of that study they seem to be suggesting that they think the trip is part of it.

I don't think anyone here has suggested that science is capitalistic in itself. Lanugo said something about how some drugs could be 'co-opted' as pacifiers but, oh wait droid already said that.

And it wasn't what Huxley was saying, obv. I don't think he was anti-science for one thing. He was commenting more on human weakness and how he saw the desire for comfort and distraction as leading to a willing embrace of oppression.

A trip could be part of it, but the goal is always in medicine to reduce side-effects or strength when possible in order to facilitate safest possible use of the medication.

Why "some" drugs? Why is it always a very specific type of drug that's targeted by people like lanugo?

Isn't lanugo the one who wrote all of those AIDS-denialist posts a while back? Yeah, he was.

On second thought, I'd totally expect someone that ignorant and deluded to write something like that.

4linehaiku
20-05-2010, 07:59 PM
I love it when people make big sweeping, generalizations about fields they know absolutely nothing about.

Hahahahaha.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 07:59 PM
Hahahahaha.

Where did I make a generalization?

Please, show me.

droid
20-05-2010, 08:02 PM
The context in which the term was used was abundantly clear and it is blatantly obvious to anyone but the most wilfully myopic that 'Soma' was being used in the literary sense.

FYI, Soma was a ritual indian drink long before it became the brand name for Carisoprodol, and in fact there would have been no relevance in the term being used in that context as we're talking about pyschedleics and carisoprodol is a muscle relaxant.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:05 PM
The context in which the term was used was abundantly clear and blatantly obvious to anyone but the most wilfully myopic that it was being used in the literay sense.

FYI, Soma was a ritual indian drink long before it became the brand name for Carisoprodol, and in fact it would have made absolutely no sense for the term to be used in that context as we're talking about pyschedleics and carisoprodol is a muscle relaxant.

No, that's obvious to you because you don't listen to people talk about organic chemicals all day every day, including soma. The fact that the word was capitalized made it seem even more likely to me that someone was talking about a brand name. Soma is of a class that is often lumped in as a "capitalistic" drug.

FYI, The brand name "Soma" actually comes from the word for "body" in latin, not from the book BNW. Or from the Indian drink.

massrock
20-05-2010, 08:10 PM
Why "some" drugs? Why is it always a very specific type of drug that's targeted by people like lanugo?
Probably best if they reply to that themsevels.

But still, I don't think lanugo was targeting the drugs as such, more suggesting that allowing their use would be a cynical move by the powers of Capitalism or the NWO or something. But fuck I don't know, it's not my argument and I didn't say it.


epiphanies on prescription

Interesting, though, that Huxley painted something like this in a much more positive light in Island. Presumably he thought that actual psychedelic experiences were not the same as the pacification of Soma.

droid
20-05-2010, 08:12 PM
No, that's obvious to you because you don't listen to people talk about organic chemicals all day every day, including soma. Soma is of a class that is often lumped in as a "capitalistic" drug.

Please dont make me quote the multiple references and the utterly clear context in which it was used. Just read the thread again. Start on the first page.


FYI, The brand name "Soma" actually comes from the word for "body" in latin, not from the book BNW. Or from the Indian drink.

You pull this stuff out of thin air dont you?

Soma (Sanskrit सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:14 PM
Please dont make me quote the multiple references and the utterly clear context in which it was used. Just read the thread again. Start on the first page.



You pull this stuff out of thin air dont you?

Soma (Sanskrit सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma

I corrected myself, jeezis. I just misremembered the goddamned translation of a word with common LATIN/GREEK/SANSKRIT ROOTS.

You just pull this stuff out of wikipedia, to be an asshole.

The reason why I thought it was "body" is because in biology/chemistry, "somatic" cells are body cells, cf. gametes.

Jesus H. Christ.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:19 PM
Yup! Derived from latin, as I suspected. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/soma)


soˇma 1 (sm)
n. pl. soˇmaˇta (-m-t) or soˇmas
1. The entire body of an organism, exclusive of the germ cells.
2. See cell body.
3. The body of an individual as contrasted with the mind or psyche.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[New Latin sma, from Greek, body; see teu- in Indo-European roots.]

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:22 PM
Please dont make me quote the multiple references and the utterly clear context in which it was used. Just read the thread again. Start on the first page.



You pull this stuff out of thin air dont you?

Soma (Sanskrit सोम sóma), or Haoma (Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma

Be my guest. Quote all the references you like.

The only reason to capitalize the word soma, and make it a proper noun, would seem to be because you're indicating a brand name.

IIRC, in the book, "soma" was not capitalized.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:23 PM
I'm still waiting for someone to point out my egregious "generalizations".

droid
20-05-2010, 08:27 PM
Yup! Derived from latin, as I suspected. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/soma)

Except of course that Sanskrit predates Old Latin by about a millenium.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:31 PM
Except of course that Sanskrit predates Old Latin by about a millenium.

So? The development of language historically means that we didn't grab the word directly from Sanskrit, but that it has a long history of being used by cultures, from Greeks, to Romans, and then into romance languages and eventually English. Latin is actually a much more likely source; more Europeans know and knew Latin than ever knew Sanskrit.

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with my actual point? You're just deflecting and trying to make people think I'm saying something weird, or wrong. But you haven't actually defended the points that I refuted. You're just aggressively nitpicking details, leaving what I actually said unaddressed.

droid
20-05-2010, 08:34 PM
It makes perfect sense in its unsurpassable cynicism. Just think of the way everybody is hooked on "soma" in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.


Also, isn't the 'soma' a kind of stupifying, vaguely euphoric Valium-like sedative? I've not read BNW but from what I know of it, soma sounds like the exact opposite of a psychedelic.


Oh, and soma is definitively described as a strong psychedelic drug in BNW. By the way, the depiction of the "orgy-porgys" in the same novel is very reminiscent of a night in Berghain or wherever. I honestly believe that in a couple of decades Western society could end up looking very similar to Huxley's dystopian vision.


So there we go. All the references to Soma in this thread explicitly mention Huxley and BNW.

I capitalised it as its the name of the drug, but that could well be incorrect.

Regardless Im sure your gigantic brain could easily have rejected that possible hint of a contradiction given that the context had already been made explicitly clear.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:39 PM
So there we go. All the references to Soma in this thread explicitly mention Huxley and BNW.

I capitalised it as its the name of the drug, but that could well be incorrect.

Regardless Im sure your gigantic brain could easily have rejected that possible hint of a contradiction given that the context had already been made explicitly clear.

Mr. Tea's quote is exactly why I thought you were talking about the actual drug:


"Also, isn't the 'soma' a kind of stupifying, vaguely euphoric Valium-like sedative?"

Since the real Soma is very closely related to Valium chemically, but the soma in the book is more of a "feel-good" serotonin-like drug, I thought maybe the convo had switched to Soma.

Why is that a big deal? What is so strange about that. Why are you making a big deal about it?

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:41 PM
Why would it matter if I combed through every post, anyway?

My initial posts were very clearly responding to lanugo's post from very early in the thread, not yours, so just get a grip on yourself.

Meanwhile, my "generalizations" still haven't been pointed out. Because I didn't make any.

droid
20-05-2010, 08:46 PM
Mr. Tea's quote is exactly why I thought you were talking about the actual drug:



Since the real Soma is very closely related to Valium chemically, but the soma in the book is more of a "feel-good" serotonin-like drug, I thought maybe the convo had switched to Soma.

Why is that a big deal? What is so strange about that. Why are you making a big deal about it?

He explicitly mentions BNW in the same sentence.

You wouldnt have to comb through the thread, Soma, BNW and Huxley are mentioned in the fifth line.

massrock
20-05-2010, 08:47 PM
Huxley was of course referencing the ancient Soma.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:51 PM
Deflect. Deflect. Deflect.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 08:56 PM
I know he did. Then you mentioned Soma, so I thought people were talking about benzodiazepines.

It's not that weird of a mistake to make. I've slept 3 hours. I had a math final exam and an electrochemisty exam today, on 3 hours sleep. I'm hungry. My back hurts from sitting and studying for the past 2 weeks all day every day, living on junk food, and 2 hours of sleep per night. But I have to keep going, because I still have another exam tomorrow, and I have to pack up a whole room. I'm exhausted.

I'm ever so sorry that I responded to lanugo before carefully pouring over the entire message board thread, inadvertantly misreading a reference in the process.

Oh noes! The internet is going to collapse.

droid
20-05-2010, 09:01 PM
I know he did. Then you mentioned Soma, so I thought people were talking about benzodiazepines.

It's not that weird of a mistake to make. I've slept 3 hours. I had a math final exam and an electrochemisty exam today, on 3 hours sleep. I'm hungry. My back hurts from sitting and studying for the past 2 weeks all day every day, living on junk food, and 2 hours of sleep per night. But I have to keep going, because I still have another exam tomorrow, and I have to pack up a whole room. I'm exhausted.



Then what on earth are you doing talking shit on the internet for? Go to bed.

nomadthethird
20-05-2010, 09:03 PM
Then what on earth are you doing talking shit on the internet for? Go to bed.

Can't. I have an exam tomorrow, that I am studying for, followed by an appt in another city, then I have to pack a bunch of stuff for a move by saturday morning.

zhao
20-05-2010, 09:40 PM
i love acid, i love weed.

lanugo
20-05-2010, 10:40 PM
nomad, even your impressively comprehensive knowledge of biology doesn't make you omniscient. It's ridiculous how you pretend to be able explain every single facet of life with a reference to a scientific study. When you cry "Citations please!", which has become your catch phrase on this forum, one is reminded of a bible freak demanding a statement to be verified according to what is written in the Holy Scripture. Sad truth: Your scientific orthodoxy is dogmatism of the worst kind. You seem to have the very same desire for an explainable, orderly world as the religiously- or otherwise "regressively"-minded people you so wholeheartedly despise.

Also, I wonder whether your radically medicalised understanding of human behaviour isn't in fact secretly contemptuous towards those inflicted with conditions such as depression. What about the subjective dimension of this state of mind? Is every perception, observation, apprehension or thought of a depressed person merely a symptom of an unbalanced brain chemistry? Is everything you feel when you're sad irreal? Should all the great artists better have been prescribed antidepressants instead of writing The Waste Land or painting The Scream?

slowtrain
22-05-2010, 11:18 PM
Way to ruin the thread nomad....

P.S, the experiment was with psilocybin.

luka
23-05-2010, 02:34 AM
not mcuh evidence of dissolved egos here, makes me want to dip into my liquid acid stash though.

Mr. Tea
23-05-2010, 02:40 PM
For heaven's sake, I log off for five minutes and look what happens...

*liberally dispenses cigarettes and Quaaludes*

I think this at least had the potential to be an interesting thread before it got derailed. I'd like to ask lanugo how he thinks the psychedelic experience could be easily co-opted by or integrated into capitalist society when, and I think most people who've had such experinces would agree, it opens up avenues of thought that are completely orthogonal to anything conducive to consumerism and general social conformity.

I'd also like to reiterate the question I asked on the first page: what, in and of itself, is so bad about trying to reduce depression and unhappiness?

padraig (u.s.)
23-05-2010, 06:47 PM
Your scientific orthodoxy is dogmatism of the worst kind. You seem to have the very same desire for an explainable, orderly world as the religiously- or otherwise "regressively"-minded people you so wholeheartedly despise.

not speaking to what was said here in the thread (pedantic debates about etymology:rolleyes:) but speaking more generally the entire point of science is inquiry and, by extension, uncertainty. there is no implied desire for an "orderly" world, simply to describe the world as it is (that is, anything but orderly, laws of thermodynamics etc aside). the line about scientific "orthodoxy" echoing religious dogmatism - in addition to being very, very tired - encompasses a quite superficial reading of both.

calling for citations on a message board is a bit ridiculous, but that has to do with the nature of message boards rather than the nature of citations.


Is every perception, observation, apprehension or thought of a depressed person merely a symptom of an unbalanced brain chemistry? Is everything you feel when you're sad irreal? Should all the great artists better have been prescribed antidepressants instead of writing The Waste Land or painting The Scream?

A better way to put it, and a way that many people (including nomad) have put it before is that any mental illness (any mental state, really) is almost certainly multifactorial, with both genes and neurochemistry - the former having a large role in dictating the latter for an individual - playing an important but not a sole causal role. no one is denying the prominence of environmental factors (which include, amongst other things, alienation due to social atomization of the consumer society, and so on).

the rest of that is a particularly fallacious strawman. to say that emotional states are largely governed by biological factors is not to say that those feelings are "irreal". nor is it to suggest that all should be medicated to some kind of bland normality (presumably what you're getting at), though I do want to say that making claims about mental illness or similar as a product of capitalism - in the style of k-punk & "the fear", or the SPK - is treacherous ground, not least because it misappropriates the nature of capitalism, i.e. as a kind of ersatz personalized catchall to blame for depression, schizophrenia, what have you, rather than a subsuming social/political/economic/etc force.

padraig (u.s.)
23-05-2010, 07:15 PM
also, count my vote for those who are (highly) skeptical about the liberating power or revolutionary potential or however you want to put it of psychedelics. as revelatory personal experience, sure. as a medical treatment, defintely worth exploring at the very least. but as an "ego death", especially leading to a break with "capitalism", not so much. I mean, snake oil salesmen were peddling that line, if differently worded, to lost teenagers almost half a century ago - I believe Hunter S. nailed it with that bit about Leary etc loaded all these people up with liberatory dreams that nearly overnight turned into nightmares while the self-proclaimed prophets f**ked off to their book tours and whatever else. I mean, there's the practical matter - drugs always mean dodgy business means gangsters means the PLUR vibes get extinguished pretty fast. there's also the fact that it's just a drug - speaking from personal experience, it wears off and then you're still stuck with the same squalid reality.

the biggest danger, in terms of politics, may be that drugs - even the "good" ones (pot, hash, psychedelics, E I guess, as opposed to speed, heroin, coke etc) - often encourage retreat into oneself and away from any kind of confrontation with real things, which has killed off more than one promising movement. queue up someone to tell me about how drugs radicalize people - color me skeptical again, as the great majority of drug use is apolitical and/or nihilistic, which is understandable but certainly not liberatory. I never liked dogmatic straight edge kids - still don't - but I do think there's something to the idea that (recreational) drugs are more of a crutch than anything else. this kinda renders the matter of cooptation of the "psychedelic experience" moot, though assuming there was such a thing then I'd have to agree w/lanugo that it would likely be reincorporated with great speed, given capitalism's lethal efficiency in recuperation of any radical critique. actually, the fact that that psychedelics haven't been recuperated to a greater degree suggests of itself the lack of a threat they pose.

my .02, anyway.

grizzleb
23-05-2010, 07:15 PM
In continuing the theme re: Tea's request, to play devils advocate for a bit - I'd like to maybe question the actual supposed depth of the hallucinogenic experience. In my experience it can be quite often used as just some vapid, lacking-in-depth 'voyage', where any actual questioning of ones environment, experience, etc is 'done for you' by x substance. Tripping as just the appearance of spirituality/quest rather than actual practise.

And also, the biggest trippers I've known have been totally the most egotistical people I've known too...Is there anything more egotistic than the fetishization of ones subjective experience? Say what you want about 'the dissolution of boundaries maaan', experience always happens to an individual, even if it is only reconstituted that way after the fact. I don't ever recall, in the less than a dozen times I took hallucinogens thinking 'wow this is what other people feel like' or whatever, it was usually 'oh fuck x and y crazy thought process'.

Just a coupla thoughts 2 keep dis rollin' init.

Mr. Tea
23-05-2010, 10:12 PM
Some great points from both of you there, I think.

I should make clear that I certainly don't subscribe to this notion that if everyone just tripped hard enough, Kapital would somehow come crashing down and we'd all live in peace and harmony with flowers in our hair for ever more. I've come across this notion before and find it rather sophomoric, to say nothing of naive. It's even directly contradicted by historical evidence; the best counterexample being the Aztec empire, which was a tyrannical and warlike theocracy that specialised in mass human sacrifices, yet they took psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, morning glory seeds, all kinds of crazy shit. Or at least, the nobility and priesthood - which is to say, the people who presided over and conducted the sacrifices - did. The Aztecs were about as hippy as the Third Reich.

The position I'm holding is just that it sounds like it could be very helpful to some people, on a purely personal basis, to take drugs like these in a supervised setting as part of a course of clinical treatment. And my own experience backs this up, in fact; I remember after one particularly heavy mushroom trip feeling like my brain had been "reformatted" the next morning, and I felt saner and happier than I had for some time - not that I'd felt myself to be especially stressed or depressed before hand, but all the same, in retrospect it makes me think that such an experience could be very valuable to someone with real emotional or psychiatric problems. I think ecstasy (as opposed to 'proper' psychedelics per se) was very popular among therapists before it was scheduled in the '80s, especially for treating patients with PTSD. The quote that sticks in my head is the one from a therapist or psychiatrist who said he'd seen patients "make more progress in one session with MDMA than in six months of conventional therapy".

But as I said, this is all about trying to help people overcome their own difficulties rather than attempting to bring about some society-wide upheaval than will topple The System. I'd agree with padraig that if you're a serious revolutionary, you're probably better off going about it with a straight head.

In answer to grizzleb's point about the egotism of subjective experiences (devil's avocado, sure), I think you could counter it possibly by saying that a really heavy psychedelic experience can be a great leveller, imparting a fundamentally similar level of experience to people regardless of their personal background and native culture? Though I admit this is a sort of devil's-defence-brief (or should that be "angel's"?) response to your devil's-advocate argument. Having said that, I've certainly read 'trip reports' by people I've never met and found they mention startlingly similar subjective states to things I've experienced, to the extent that this kind of experience can be described in words. Then there's the whole club/party/field-full-of-people-on-E thing which is very collective as opposed to individualised, and while it may have been tarnished by association with those appalling candy-raver knob-ends, it's worth remembering that it can be a very profound collective experience and you don't have to dress up like a futuristic day-glo twat to be a part of it.

grizzleb
23-05-2010, 10:28 PM
Yeah, I agree with much of that, Tea. I was going to mention that I'd say E was probably more of a drug that I could see being praiseworthy in a social/political context... I reckon it's hard to be an arsehole when you are horsed off good MDMA giving everycunt in the room a smile and a wink. I've heard of studies from even really recently where there is much progress made with PTSD patients. Makes sense, and hopefully it will be recognized more in future.

And yeah, I'm sure that there's situations where peoples outlooks could be altered from the better from taking some sort of narcotic substances... It's the utopian shit that is a part of drugs culture that I find funny, you hear it from time to time..."everyone needs to chiiilll maaaan" etc etc etc

But more broadly, I'd like to see a culture where drugs use isn't frowned upon, where taking drugs can be an acceptable part of being a person. Give people a bit of responsibility. What if an individual who had ptsd could just go out to the shops and get some E? That would be good, regardless of whether they went and crushed da system. For some people even being able to face up to it, to not feel forced to shrink back is enough of a positive effect to be worthy...I'm sure.

(Playing devils egg-nog here ;))

droid
23-05-2010, 11:03 PM
Yeah, what Tea said. I made no claims for the 'radicalisation' potential of psychedleics, simply that I dont believe they could be easily co-opted as reinforcers or enablers of behavioural norms, though there is certainly an interesting conversation to be had there.

AFAIC if I was a dictator with an interest in chemistry - LSD, Psyclobin etc... would be the last drugs on my soma list if I wanted a relatively docile population. I can see the potential as tools for control in almost everything else, from opiates to amphetamines as well as MDMA, tobacco, alcohol, weed etc... but the only uses I could see for psychedlics would be maybe to obliterate the minds of politcial deviants through the application of gigantic doses (like they did to black prisoners in the US in the 50's).

Mr. Tea
24-05-2010, 12:00 AM
What if an individual who had ptsd could just go out to the shops and get some E?

Ecstasy and psychedelics should be freely available to anyone suffering from the grievous psychiatric disorder, not-being-able-to-get-heinously-spangled-now-and-then-syndrome.

Interesting tidbit on the prisoners, droid, you got any links for that? I don't disbelieve you at all, I've heard of similar things from various sources. I think a lot of early test subjects were army 'volunteers' as well as prisoners - fuck knows if they had any idea what they were volunteering for, though...

droid
24-05-2010, 10:28 AM
IIRC I first read about it in Andrew Tyler's excellent 'street drugs'. Think there's some stuff about it in 'the secret history of Acid' as well. Part of (at least) one of the pre-MkUltra CIA experiments - Bluebird.

padraig (u.s.)
25-05-2010, 07:21 AM
I should make clear that I certainly don't subscribe to this notion that if everyone just tripped hard enough, Kapital would somehow come crashing down and we'd all live in peace and harmony with flowers in our hair for ever more.


regardless of whether they went and crushed da system

I should in turn make clear that I'm not particularly against the use of psychedelics in a recreational context. not for it either, tho. if cats want to do them for whatever reason, then let them, as (hopefully) responsible individuals aware of the potential positive & negative consequences. I just don't want any confusion about their having any inherently liberating quality. (however: heroin, coke, speed, etc - f**k that ish. f**k it hard. destroys lives, full stop, and brings no material benefit to anyone except (while we're at it) c-a-p-i-t-a-l-i-s-t scum - i.e. the "bosses", not the street-level dealers)

Generally I'm in favor of decriminalization, even w/hard drugs, for a variety of reasons. As odious of as the idea of, say, packs of R.J. Reynolds spliffs being sold at Wal-Mart is, it's better than what we have now, i.e. prisons overflowing with non-violent drug offenders and the huge expenditure of resources on an essentially unwinnable war (the War on Drugs being, of course, an industry unto itself, with the attendant consituency and lobbyists). What the Netherlands & Portugal have done: making a clear demarcation between soft and hard drugs; and another between personal use and trafficking. Glenn Greenwald actually did a rather interesting study (commissioned by, of all people, the Cato Institute) on impact of Portugal's drug policy - see here (http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf).


The position I'm holding is just that it sounds like it could be very helpful to some people, on a purely personal basis, to take drugs like these in a supervised setting as part of a course of clinical treatment.

I don't think anyone's arguing against this. As I said - do the double-blind, randomized trials, as well as the case studies, and let the research bear it out. If the results are favorable, great, add psychedelics to the arsenal as a tool for treating the appropriate disorders.

to your more general point - what's wrong w/reducing unhappiness - not to sound like a misanthrope, or to privilege suffering, but the obvious answer is that sometimes being unhappy (or angry, despondent, etc) is a perfectly natural reaction. not only to personal tragedies like untimely deaths of loved ones, but also to economic setbacks, and even to events that may not affect one personally. admittedly since there's no clear definition of a "natural" v. unnatural reaction, things can get murky, which is where the opinions of both patient & therapist come in. I dunno, but it seems fair to attribute at least some portion of mental illness in the modern world to the alienation of consumer society (in which everything, including relationships, becomes a commodity, etc), if perhaps not the largest portion.

Mr. Tea
25-05-2010, 01:17 PM
Generally I'm in favor of decriminalization, even w/hard drugs, for a variety of reasons. As odious of as the idea of, say, packs of R.J. Reynolds spliffs being sold at Wal-Mart is, it's better than what we have now, i.e. prisons overflowing with non-violent drug offenders and the huge expenditure of resources on an essentially unwinnable war (the War on Drugs being, of course, an industry unto itself, with the attendant consituency and lobbyists). What the Netherlands & Portugal have done: making a clear demarcation between soft and hard drugs; and another between personal use and trafficking.

Yep, I'd pretty much agree with all of that.



I don't think anyone's arguing against this.

Well lanugo seemed to be going that way, for one...



to your more general point - what's wrong w/reducing unhappiness - not to sound like a misanthrope, or to privilege suffering, but the obvious answer is that sometimes being unhappy (or angry, despondent, etc) is a perfectly natural reaction. not only to personal tragedies like untimely deaths of loved ones, but also to economic setbacks, and even to events that may not affect one personally. admittedly since there's no clear definition of a "natural" v. unnatural reaction, things can get murky, which is where the opinions of both patient & therapist come in. I dunno, but it seems fair to attribute at least some portion of mental illness in the modern world to the alienation of consumer society (in which everything, including relationships, becomes a commodity, etc), if perhaps not the largest portion.

But if some sort of treatment, possibly including the use of psychedelics, could help people think differently about things like society and their place in it, couldn't that reduce the very alienation you're talking about? If you could help people think differently about themselves and about other people, and people started feeling better as a result (really, genuinely feeling better I mean, when they're not on any drugs at all, rather than just supressing the sadness with antidepressants or taking sedatives to keep the panic at bay), wouldn't that be totally revolutionary? And not a petrol bomb in sight!

(I'm not saying this would happen if only someone went around distributing blotter acid to all and sundry - the most likely result of that would be utter madness, and not in a good way - just that I think something like that could happen, possibly, as the result of some sort of very wide-ranging re-evaluation of society, in which certain drugs that are currently illegal and regarded mainly as 'recreational' could play a part.)

padraig (u.s.)
25-05-2010, 08:02 PM
But if some sort of treatment, possibly including the use of psychedelics, could help people think differently about things like society and their place in it, couldn't that reduce the very alienation you're talking about?

your question on reduction of unhappiness is really a philosophical one, deserving of a long, thoughtful answer (solid material for a dissertation or two I'd think), but my short answer is - yes and no. the question revolves back to - is reducing that alienation via treatment desirable? in the sense that simply helping people to cope (to survive) is always desirable, yes. OTOH what would much more desirable is a world that didn't require "treatment" to help people cope in the first place. do you see where I'm going? insomuch as alienation is an appropriate response to things which are alienating, is it better to mediate the alienation with medication or to attack its root causes? I think the latter is always a better option, when at all possible, though sometimes it isn't.

(big disclaimer before going on: as stated several times, mental illness & depression have many causes, I'm not shunting it all off onto capitalism, or commodity relations, or any other buzzword. when I say "alienation" I'm referring to a very specific kind of discontent, what one might call an existential separation from both the self & others.)

there's also the separate, but possibly related issue, of how to treat legimitate emotions. in general a mental condition crosses the line into "treatable" when it impairs an individual's day-to-day function. sometimes the line is clear, as w/schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. other times it isn't - i.e. the murky world of grief counseling. ultimately, again, it's up to the individual to decide.


If you could help people think differently about themselves and about other people, and people started feeling better as a result (really, genuinely feeling better I mean, when they're not on any drugs at all, rather than just supressing the sadness with antidepressants or taking sedatives to keep the panic at bay), wouldn't that be totally revolutionary?

not unless it induced a resulting material change to (or abolition of) power structures*, no. feeling better doesn't mean anything devoid of context. what is one feeling better about? what if, for example, a trader at an investment bank feels better about betting on a currency to fail? what if a jailer feels better about beating prisoners? and so on. keep in mind as well that in any regard this is only available to a relatively tiny portion of humanity, the most affluent section thereof. I don't think "feeling better" is much of an option for the billions of people living on the margins of the world economic system*.

*keep in mind I'm not saying that treatment, or use of psychedelic drugs, is therefore worthless.

SOS
19-08-2010, 12:59 PM
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nrn2884.pdf

article that was published this month, havent read it yet

Mr. Tea
19-08-2010, 02:31 PM
http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nrn2884.pdf

article that was published this month, havent read it yet

^ Was mentioned in the papers this morning. Sounds promising for people who suffer badly from depression and whatnot.