What is the real reason psychedelics are illegal?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 20, 2020 05:10 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 20, 2020 05:10 AM

Originally Answered: Why are psychedelics illegal?
Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing.

— Terrence McKenna

What if I told you, there is an experience that is unlike any other human experience. It is an experience that defines the human being in the context of the universe and beyond, free from usual references such as other people, society, culture and even the ego.

This experience is known as the mystical experience, and it is responsible for the founding of many religions we know today.

You can have a mystical experience out of nowhere, or you may fast, meditate or do other intense ascetic practices for extended periods.

Or, you may ingest a molecule, a mushroom, or a brew, and you may discover billions of years of evolutionary intelligence through journeys into the depths of human consciousness. And maybe, if your set and setting are appropriate, you will have a mystical experience.

An experience millions of people throughout history have aimed towards.

An experience that redefines a human life, shifts perspectives and changes behaviour.

An experience so powerful, authentic and authoritative that those who desire power and control over you and your resources cannot let you have it…

I will come back to this.

There are various nuanced reasons for the illegal status of psychedelics. However, the roots of the issue can be clearly identified as ignorance and greed, thus making the seed of the issue the human ego.

Psychedelic drugs are illegal because psychedelic experience disintegrates the many organizational and hierarchical structures with which humans individually and collectively function. Psychological, social, cultural, parental, religious, political, and governmental structures, all with which people have been raised to accept as norm, and with which people currently function as a society, are shown to be illusory and thus, questionable. Psychedelics help you see through propaganda, they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour.

The powerful transcendent states of consciousness that are accessed through psychedelic drugs necessarily puts one’s entire perspective of life into question.

Everyone has a transcendent dimension, a life of the spirit. This is most direct expressed in religious and the mystic traditions… When experienced, transcendence locates the person in a far larger landscape. Such an experience need not involve religion in any formal sense; however, in its transpersonal dimension, it is deeply spiritual. The quality of being greater and more lasting than an individual life gives this aspect of the person its timeless dimension.

— Eric Cassel, New England Journal of Medicine

Moreover, these assumed structures we individually and collectively rely on as a species are the basis for the cultural values of modern societies, and psychedelic experience often leads to the adoption of new, less established, less traditional, and less economically useful values.

If people use psychedelics and begin to change their perspectives in drastic ways, and thus change their values too, many systems society requires to function, such as capitalism and consumerism, based on the successful marketing of false ideals (ie. use this product and you will feel young / beautiful again, buy this car to be happy, apply to this course to learn to make millions of dollars, etc.) would stop working effectively, because you wouldn’t want what is being sold.

You know you wouldn’t need it, because you would realize everything you need is right here, right now, forever.

Furthermore, people who use psychedelics end up questioning tradition and authority, causing social destabilization. American society in the 1960’s during the counterculture revolution, which was partially fuelled by LSD and other psychedelics, fuelled the anti-war movement and a rise in spirituality amongst Western people, both of which are symptoms of changes in values held by the American people.

The principle effects of psychedelics on the mind include greater access to normally inaccessible psychological material, such as memories and archetypal images, mystical or peak experiences, and temporary dissolution of self-identity or ego, more commonly known as ego-death.

The ego is necessary for survival and general function as an intelligent living organism, especially when existing within a complex social structure composed of other organisms with their own self-identity. Moreover, we all live together with cultural values, social norms, social hierarchies and strict rules that threaten personal liberty, and the ego is necessary to properly observe these.

The ego, or, self-identity, eases navigation of reality, allowing a person to be a functional individual self, secure in mind and body, capable of agency.

However, the ego is only a useful psychological construction insofar as it serves the organism in which it exists. It becomes ineffective, unhealthy and potentially dangerous when the ego becomes hijacked by an external source, such as a religious organization, political groups, governments, the media, or corporations.

When companies, the media, political parties or religions use deceptive tactics to buy you into their ideologies and agendas, the ego is no longer fully serving you, it is serving you, but also those political, religious or commercial organizations.

Psychedelic experience can free the mind, so to speak, allowing a person to release the chains of external influences that control the ego.

When awareness realizes its true nature, independent of the ego, that organism’s awareness can become much more selective in choosing how it is influenced.

To elaborate, the real you isn’t really [insert your name here].

That’s just who you think you are, who you were taught to be by your parents, teachers, society, culture, advertisers, politicians, the media, etc.

The real you, beyond the ego, is more and less than what you might think.

Ultimately, what you are is awareness, or, consciousness. You exist inside a living physical body, but ultimately, you are not that body. You are the awareness, or consciousness that exists, in this instance, through the physical body.

Psychedelics may reveal the various games your ego might play in order to maintain an image of yourself that is acceptable to who you think you are. These ego-games are often very ugly as they hide your true nature, which ideally, you ought to accept.

See Carl Jung’s theory of individuation for more about that.

Knowing yourself as awareness, or, consciousness, however, is rather inconvenient to the current Western paradigm. Contemporary Western society holds the protestant ethic of hard work and resource accumulation, a paradigm that is maintained by the systems in place, such as capitalism, bureaucracy, materialism, and consumerism, all of which are products of human ego.

Learning to identify with consciousness then, instead of ego, leads to the sort of freedom pushed by many spiritual and religious philosophies. In other words, knowing yourself as consciousness leads to freedom from desire, because only the ego desires. This is the ancient and classic spiritual game.

Becoming free of ego means becoming free of various desires and so called “necessities” that modern civilization imposes. All the stuff fighting for your attention and money, the time and effort corporations and the government rely on you for, this all loses relevance when psychedelic experience reveals one’s true identity, and possibly engages spirituality in a person.

Psychedelics may catalyze spirituality in an individual.

More people tuning into the more subtle spiritual dimension of human life would lead to decreased industrialism, materialism, and consumerism, and thus, economic loss, and further, loss of political and national power.

“There is such a sense of authority that comes out of the primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchical structures,” Griffiths told me when we met in his office last spring. “We ended up demonizing these compounds. Can you think of another area of science regarded as so dangerous and taboo that all research gets shut down for decades? It’s unprecedented in modern science.”

— Micheal Pollen

Medicine is an industry.

Psychedelics aren’t illegal because they are dangerous or bad for your health. They can actually be very good for your health. Truthfully, psychedelics are highly effective tools and medicine that provide healing through mechanisms science is only beginning to explore.

Pharmaceutical companies cannot have people using psychedelics, because otherwise they cannot profit from the drugs they have invented and patented. Pharmaceutical companies, which play a central role in the global economy, need you to need drugs.

Unfortunately, the medical and pharmaceutical industries make money from illness. Economically then, it does not make sense to have such effective medicine available to the people.

War is also an industry.

In the 1960’s, psychedelic experiences helped people question the norm and break out of cultural conditioning, such as laid down models of behavior.

The US government wanted war in Vietnam. Young people were using psychedelic drugs as a result of their rising popularity thanks to Gordon Wasson, Timothy Leary, The Beatles, and cultural circumstances. These young people encountered spiritual experiences characterized by unity, love, peace, and understanding, and expressed them through peaceful demonstration, art, literature, political activism, new-age spirituality, meditation, yoga, etc.

All these new spiritually infused ideas stood in dramatic opposition to the current war-inclined political agenda pushed by the Nixon administration. As a consequence, the government declared the war on drugs as a political tactic.

John Ehrlichman was the Nixon White House aide who practically invented the modern war on drugs. Here’s a direct quote from the man himself:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

— John Ehrlichman

The war on drugs is a bigoted and racist political tactic.

Some believe the war on drugs is a war on consciousness. A battle to control the mind, and thus lives of various people in various social classes of modern society. In other words, a method of controlling the masses.

Ultimately however, the war on drugs is an epic failure.

Not only has it failed in eliminating drugs from modern society, it has given rise to a developmental retardation of the human species by denying access to molecules that allow for highly effective healing, profound creative inspiration and transformative spiritual development, as well as greater understanding of our organism, consciousness, the environment, and reality itself.

Psychedelics are tools for analyzing the depths of the human mind. At best, these tools can be used for healing, education, spirituality, personal development, problem-solving and creativity.

Psychedelic drugs are incredibly useful substances in regards to the development, advancement, and possibly survival of the human species. These tools give promise of being of great value in helping to cure many of the present ills of modern civilization. As exploratory tools for learning more about the potentialities of the human mind, as means for enhancing mental effectiveness and scientific understanding, as means to psychological, philosophical and spiritual development, as educational aids to the human species seeing itself in clearer perspectives, and as remarkably versatile implements to psychotherapy and medicine. The present and future uses of psychedelic drugs constitute a large field for investigation which has only recently began to be investigated by modern science and contemporary philosophy.

Finally, there is the uniquely powerful and radical experience that is made more easily accessible with psychedelics: the mystical experience, known to neuroscience today as the mystical-type experience.

The mystical experience has been repeatedly documented by many ancient cultures, and now it is documented and studied by modern science, facilitated by the proper use of psychedelic tools.

You can read more about the mystical-type experience in a book called The Varieties of Religious Experience, by psychologist William James.

This experience is so fundamental, primal, raw, powerful and legitimate, that whoever has the experience questions all forms of pre-imposed authority, structure and meaning. The experience can be life-changing.

If shamanic reports similar over continents, cultures, and eons, are to be seriously considered, it appears that certain natural products, like psychedelic mushrooms and plants, as well as LSD, have the capacity to induce specific states of awareness in humans that transmit the information necessary to maintain and restore the natural harmony of the biological ecosystem. Psychedelics may thus be tools provided by nature, for nature, that allow human beings to temporarily break down the necessary illusions generated by the ego, and experience the unity of all that is.

It is said by the various religions created by humans of this planet, that there is a primal human experience which alters all other experiences. It has been called nirvana in Buddhism, moksha in Hinduism, spiritual enlightenment or cosmic consciousness in the West. It is not just an experience among others, but rather, it is the very heart of human experience. It is the centre that gives understanding to the whole. Once found, life is altered, because the very root of human identity has been deepened to encircle the entire cosmos, and now the experience remains as a memory in the individual’s mind of a higher truth that transcends the ego-self.

Many believe this experience is at the root of all world religions. The mystical experience is thus the spiritual essence of human experience, as it is an experience that gives meaning, and thus purpose to a human life.

Psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD seem to facilitate the discovery of this apparently ancient and universal human experience.

Psychedelics then are not only a threat to political authority, but also religious authority. Psychedelic drugs literally cut out the middleman in the biological process of human spirituality. In turn, if people take psychedelics, the power and influence of political and religious leaders is weakened.

Psychedelics facilitate a fundamental and biological health maintenance and personal development process that threatens modern societies organizational and authoritative structures, thus, they are illegal.

Although I may have just praised psychedelics and their unparalleled potential for health, spirituality and more, psychedelics can be dangerous tools when used abusively, without guidance, or improperly. Moreover, psychedelics remain only tools, or medicine, which ought to be used with great care, if at all.

While psychedelics and the experiences provided can be a valuable adjunct to the sincere analysis of one’s psychological inner world and perceptual relationship to the external world, it can also be a source of disorienting delusion and confusion for those unequipped for such powerful experiences. Due to the inexplicable, unpredictable, and powerful effects of psychedelic drugs, some individuals must refrain from using psychedelics. For those who choose to explore their inner world with molecules, remember that psychedelics are medicine, not diet.

Meditation and other practices relevant to your beliefs, or lack thereof, will get you further in the long run, as psychedelics may cause more trouble than benefit when misused. Additionally, for those on their spiritual path, psychedelics are just another attachment. Know that you do not need them to move forward.

Most importantly, after ecstasy comes the laundry. After you discover radical truths, you must put in the effort to implement those truths into your behaviour, and that isn’t so easy.

Only the deliberate cultivation of new habits of consciousness, a process requiring sober discipline and effort, can endow such powerful visionary experiences with any enduring significance.

“Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen…”

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