Recreational use of drugs (legal and illegal)

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » General Discussion
  3. » Recreational use of drugs (legal and illegal)

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Tue 31 Mar, 2009 05:38 pm
Beforehand I would like to say that I am sixteen (soon to be seventeen) and fairly new to the world of philosophy, so please, correct any factual errors I may have made in my arguments as well as arguing against or for my arguments in their essence.This is also my first thread that isn't a self-introduction thread. Just thought you'd like to know.

Mainly:

  • Describe your position and rationale behind drug use. Philosophically and politically if you wish.
  • To you, what is a drug?

  • Do you use drugs?
  • What kinds of drugs?

  • How often?
  • What is your experience with drugs (both use and general exposure to an environment where they play a significant role)?
  • If you use drugs for recreational purposes, do you believe your use of drugs is justified logically or morally?
  • What is your reasoning?

You could also delve into:

  • What do your highs feel like?

  • Do you believe that the feelings drugs give you are purely physical, or is there more of a spiritual, dualist (not sure if I'm using this correctly) nature behind them?

  • Do have multiple standards for drugs? (ex. It's okay to use marijuana, but not crack)


My views:

What are drugs?
For me, the term "drugs" has a pretty straightforward and scientific meaning to it. I see "drugs"
as any substance that significantly (this is a relative term but I'm sure you get what I mean) alters the functioning of the body in any way, and is used for its effects, whether the motive behind that use is to A) treat a disease, or B) just experience the effects for personal enjoyment, experimentation, or both.

Is the recreational use of drugs justifiable?
I believe so. Not in every case, but in most cases. As an Atheist and Physicalist (a constituent and firm believer in the arguments put forth by the philosophical idea of Physicalism, not to be confused with physicist), I personally believe that life has no inherent meaning save for what abstract idea(s) we choose to impose upon our own lives (and perhaps the lives of others if you like looking at things from a universal perspective).

As such, I believe it would be a fallacy in reasoning to argue that the negative effects of drugs on the health of those who use them are a valid reason to say that recreational use of drugs are not justifiable. You only have one life (life being the existence of your consciousness), from a universal scale, life is a bit brief anyhow, and with so much suffering between your delivery and termination the sensational pleasures that recreational drugs can provide make existence a bit more worth it. Plus, drugs, though sometimes physically and/or psychologically addicting, are still used by choice and are not a necessary or forced factor in most people's lives.

Do I use them?
My experience with drugs for both medicinal and recreational purposes is, admittedly, pretty limited, past the occasional antibiotic/tylenol/cough syrup I've never had any major need to take any drugs, and I've only been high once on marijuana, an experience I had a little less than a month ago. The said experience, while not life changing, gave me a greater appreciation for the logical reason why many people use recreational drugs, the euphoria, the hilarity, the random variable tossed into your brief existence that makes things more interesting and amusing. I do not believe drugs gets me closer to any sort of higher being, or does anything to my spirit, but I believe that there is no goal to existence, not even to propagate or advance your species, so logically, no one but yourself should be insulted by your use of drugs. Those who care about you may be concerned, but it is a concern they have chosen to have.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 05:55 am
@The Dude phil phil,
The_Dude wrote:
Beforehand I would like to say that I am sixteen (soon to be seventeen) and fairly new to the world of philosophy, so please, correct any factual errors I may have made in my arguments as well as arguing against or for my arguments in their essence.This is also my first thread that isn't a self-introduction thread. Just thought you'd like to know.


At your age, brother, stay away from all drugs: legal and illegal. Take it from someone who ignored that advice: you have a whole lifetime ahead of you to experiment; I'm not sure if it is possible for me to explain just how better off you will be if you wait until you are older, wiser, and (no offense) more mature. I would have been better off, and everyone I know who began around your age and around the age I started experimenting would have been better off. Seriously. That's universally sound advice.

Some aspirin for a headache, or prescriptions from your doctor are different. Use as directed. But drinking and what not: wait! For your own sake! If not, you will kick yourself later. I promise.

[/SIZE]
The_Dude wrote:
Is the recreational use of drugs justifiable?
I believe so. Not in every case, but in most cases. As an Atheist and Physicalist (a constituent and firm believer in the arguments put forth by the philosophical idea of Physicalism, not to be confused with physicist), I personally believe that life has no inherent meaning save for what abstract idea(s) we choose to impose upon our own lives (and perhaps the lives of others if you like looking at things from a universal perspective).


Sure the recreational use of drugs is justifiable: so long as that use is responsible. When you turn 21, go out and have a few drinks with friends. But if you go out, at any age, and have twenty drinks, man you've definitely messed up.

That's what it's all about: responsibility. And not just responsibility for your state of mind, but also legal responsibility. Personally, I have nothing against an adult smoking some grass on occasion; the problem is that smoking grass on any occasion might very well lead to legal troubles. Again, you'll have to trust me on this: you want to stay out of the criminal justice system. That is not a fun system to go through.

The_Dude wrote:
As such, I believe it would be a fallacy in reasoning to argue that the negative effects of drugs on the health of those who use them are a valid reason to say that recreational use of drugs are not justifiable. You only have one life (life being the existence of your consciousness), from a universal scale, life is a bit brief anyhow, and with so much suffering between your delivery and termination the sensational pleasures that recreational drugs can provide make existence a bit more worth it. Plus, drugs, though sometimes physically and/or psychologically addicting, are still used by choice and are not a necessary or forced factor in most people's lives.


I think your argument supports a conclusion contrary to the one you have arrived at. Because we only have this one life we should take care of our bodies so that we can make the most of this one life.

By abusing our bodies, we shorten this one life and introduce more suffering than we otherwise had. Yes, there is suffering in this life, but if you try to drown/smoke/blow those sorrows away all you do is introduce new sorrows into your life without ever addressing the initial pains. When the high is gone, the old troubles come back. If you turn to that high enough, very quickly that high will no longer keep those demons at bay: that high will exacerbate them.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 09:06 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Do the results warrant the dangers...is always my question..if you can become addicted to any drug then it is not advisable to even try..Ive used a little dope, its ok but nothing great and to my ever lasting shame the deadly cigarette, the most deadly and least offensive to society.Red wine, well as the gods gave it to us ,what can i say?.Sorry i did not answer as you wished but then its nearly time to go home..Xris
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 09:17 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
Do the results warrant the dangers...is always my question..


And that question, I think, is an important one to ask. For example: is it worth trying crack even once? Not in the least. How about a beer? Well, when you reach the legal age, if beer interests you, I recommend trying one. "Drug" is such a wide label that generalizations do not work, but we can ask this very question of the various drugs around.

xris wrote:
if you can become addicted to any drug then it is not advisable to even try..


Well, we can become addicted to many things. Should we never try a hamburger? Never try a glass of wine? These two things all carry the potential for addiction.

xris wrote:
Ive used a little dope, its ok but nothing great and to my ever lasting shame the deadly cigarette, the most deadly and least offensive to society.


Yeah, these absurd societal standards are... well, getting in the way of progress, to say the least. Adults are allowed to smoke cigarettes and drink ourselves to death, but we can't smoke a joint from time to time? Not that I advocate marijuana, but the legal judgment there just doesn't make any sense.
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 10:45 am
@Didymos Thomas,
With anything you do, there is the value of what the participation stems from. So if you decide you want to experience drugs of any kind, self honesty is the best characteristic to keep you grounded and reasonable. I felt contained and unsure of how to express myself when I was younger and that was my reason for doing drugs. I will admit to trying many. Most time it was once or twice. The thing I realized is that the more I dived into it, the more I realized the was no difference in self fulfillment. I had good and bad times just the same with or without drugs.

Now the important thing to remember is that if your not ready for potentially rash changes in the way you think and feel and perceive things, the reason you took those drugs in the first place will most likely be the focus of your experience and that is not what beneficial use is about. I believe most people who indulge in consistent drug use feel it can help with a certain[/I] problem. When it does and doesn't, it causes confusion from the highs and lows. Thus leading to behavior and health problems that leads people to just want to make those drugs illegal because of the damages they can cause.

I believe that the recent discussions about legalizing possession of Pot, brings up a unspoken discussion that people tend not to debate when it comes to drug use and its effects. I see a unspoken divide in people who accept marijuana as something society can be responsible with. But if it cant, then based on the rising concerns of arrests and money spent to counteract the use of this plant, the best thing to do is let us as a society trust and guide individuals about the responsible and beneficial uses. That's the strongest argument I agree with.

Other then that, the best situation I can see for the future is where substances are all legal, but we all learn to communicate better and relieve the need to dictate and enforce[/I] how we keep people responsible.

 
The Dude phil phil
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 11:43 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
At your age, brother, stay away from all drugs: legal and illegal. Take it from someone who ignored that advice: you have a whole lifetime ahead of you to experiment; I'm not sure if it is possible for me to explain just how better off you will be if you wait until you are older, wiser, and (no offense) more mature. I would have been better off, and everyone I know who began around your age and around the age I started experimenting would have been better off. Seriously. That's universally sound advice.


Ah, but that poses two questions.

One, does age really dictate maturity?

Two, is there really any such thing as universally sound advice?

I appreciate your concern/advice, but, whose to say that I lack the maturity to do so? I may lack the age, but what relevance would that have if age didn't dictate maturity entirely. While it's true that abstract thinking skills aren't present in younger children, they usually develop around adolescence. As for wisdom, that's your strongest point, I may indeed not be "wise" enough to make an informed decision.

My initial reason for using marijuana was general open-mindedness, the "try it before you bash it" argument. I wanted mainly to see if its hallucinogenic effects were all they were cracked up to be. Had I not tried it recently, the curiosity would have lingered in my mind for many years to come, making my decision not much more informed at age 30 or 40 than it was three weeks ago. Yeah, increased scientific knowledge surrounding marijuana later on may have influenced my decision, but who's to say that any significant scientific advancements would have been made in the first place?

Besides, before trying, I did my research, acknowledging the potential dangers, including psychological addiction, lung damage, memory loss, the "gateway effect", the munchies, and all the other undesirable effects that comes with the temporary euphoria marijuana provides. Regarding the addictiveness, I wasn't too phased, I used the same logic you did, "you can get addicted to everything from sex to throwing up in a toilet to devouring hamburgers to getting slapped on the rear end, with a little self control I needn't worry about **** like that" is what I told myself.

But to be the devil's advocate, I suppose my argument could easily be debunked by the fact that I did this out of burning curiosity, which could be attributed to a lack of self control, self control that I claim to have, self control that'll stop me from using it habitually.



Didymos Thomas wrote:

I think your argument supports a conclusion contrary to the one you have arrived at. Because we only have this one life we should take care of our bodies so that we can make the most of this one life.


Of course, the last thing I want is to be addicted to marijuana, besides, smoking it too much creates a tolerance, ruining the reason I would use it in the first place, for the effects.

And I'll edit this post to include more later, because I gotta go, heh.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 1 Apr, 2009 09:10 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
No. Age is a terrible measure of maturity as any college campus can attest. Many 18 year old students are far more mature than older students.

And, no there is no such thing as universally sound advice. Advice requires both perspective and perception. Thus, from different perspectives, different advice may be sound or not.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 10:34 am
@The Dude phil phil,
The_Dude wrote:
As an Atheist and Physicalist (a constituent and firm believer in the arguments put forth by the philosophical idea of Physicalism, not to be confused with physicist), I personally believe that life has no inherent meaning save for what abstract idea(s) we choose to impose upon our own lives (and perhaps the lives of others if you like looking at things from a universal perspective).


So, in other words, "Life's a b-tch and then you die, that's why we get high...". Maybe you could take it a bit further and advocate suicide, because if life is meaningless, what's the point in working and suffering? Death is a cheaper, long-lasting version of heroin...or do you really believe this?

Certainly you can find meaning through ideas and activities that are far more stimulating and enriching than a short drug-induced high. And if you think everything is a drug-induced experience going on in the brain (this might partly be right, in your individual experience of life), then stick to the natural highs, as they are good for your body and mind (proven by nature), and free!

Quote:
As such, I believe it would be a fallacy in reasoning to argue that the negative effects of drugs on the health of those who use them are a valid reason to say that recreational use of drugs are not justifiable.
Sure, I guess if you value individual liberties over everything else, you can say this. The problem is that we all live in a society that is built on a certain amount of trust and responsibility. If you were born into poverty, would it be fair to live in a neighborhood run by drug gangs? If you have children, do you think you would not care so much for the rights of the drug dealer when he is trying to sell crack to your thirteen year old? Do you not mind the many recent reports about chaos and violence along the Mexican border, which is in large part due to drug smuggling gangs?

Yes, you can argue that these problems might lessen if the drugs were legalized and controlled by the government. And I would agree with you, they would lessen, but they would not dissapear. You have to consider the neighborhood effects; How many thousands of people a year are killed by drunk drivers? How many thousand more would be killed by drunk and/or drugged drivers when all drugs are freely available at the pharmacy? Protecting people from damaging their own health has never been a real issue with illegal drugs. There are all sorts of legal ways people destroy their healthy minds and bodies. Drug use has societal consequences that have to be considered.

Quote:
You only have one life (life being the existence of your consciousness), from a universal scale, life is a bit brief anyhow, and with so much suffering between your delivery and termination the sensational pleasures that recreational drugs can provide make existence a bit more worth it.
Geez, you aren't even out of high school yet, and already you are convinced that life is about nothing more than sensual pleasures and suffering. Want to make life more worth it? Get out and see the world, try things, and meet people. When you do this, you will see how much suffering there really is, and your own small problems will seem insignificant. Many people have terrible burdens and are still able to make life "worth it" every day, because they try. Using drugs to achieve this is throwing in the towel, because it doesn't make life any more worth it. It just temporarily hides the problems that will always be around, with or without drugs.


Quote:
I believe that there is no goal to existence, not even to propagate or advance your species, so logically, no one but yourself should be insulted by your use of drugs. Those who care about you may be concerned, but it is a concern they have chosen to have.
I think the family that lost a child to a drunk and/or high driver can be insulted by a person's reckless use of drugs. There are countless other examples. And yes, people can be reckless with many things, drugs being one of them. But the problem lies with how drugs work. A drug is largely unpredictable in a person's body. It changes the way the mind operates. Unlike learning to drive a car or operate a chainsaw, a drug experience can always hit a person in a different way. It is unpredictable, potentially dangerous or catastrophic in the right situation. Yes, there are people who make a good effort to be responsible drug users. But is this a good reason for justifying drug use by all, when many are not responsible, and their lack of responsibility comes with devastating consequences?

The_Dude wrote:

One, does age really dictate maturity?

I appreciate your concern/advice, but, whose to say that I lack the maturity to do so? I may lack the age, but what relevance would that have if age didn't dictate maturity entirely.


In this case of drug use, yes. You can consult the medical literature if you wish; your brain, as a teenager, is not yet fully developed. It will not be fully developed until something like your early to mid-20s. So, your drug use at this age is different from your potential drug use at an older age, perhaps with longer lasting, more severe consequences. Go ahead and consult the medical studies for statistics that link early habitual marijuana use with cognitive disorders later on in life. There are quite a few of them...

Quote:
Regarding the addictiveness, I wasn't too phased, I used the same logic you did, "you can get addicted to everything from sex to throwing up in a toilet to devouring hamburgers to getting slapped on the rear end, with a little self control I needn't worry about **** like that" is what I told myself.
And that's exactly what everyone else said to themselves, also, when they first tried drugs. It doesn't always work out to your benefit. Very rarely have I ever heard someone claim, down the road, that all of their drug use actually made them better. And yes, anything can be psychologically addicting to the point where it might harm you. But hamburgers, sex, etc. is not a significant mind-altering substance/activity like a drug.

Quote:
But to be the devil's advocate, I suppose my argument could easily be debunked by the fact that I did this out of burning curiosity, which could be attributed to a lack of self control, self control that I claim to have, self control that'll stop me from using it habitually.
Yes, the self control that you exercised up until that first moment you inhaled the smoke was great. It has also been great ever since you last exhaled the smoke. It's always under control until you actually break down and do it. So next time your self-control fades, evaluate the following:

1) Why do I now have the desire to use drugs? Is it to find something or is it to run away from something?

2) Will this action improve my well-being? If yes, how? If no, then why do it?
 
Stickman
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 10:46 am
@The Dude phil phil,
Hey there "The_Dude" Smile

It sounds like you are a sensible, careful person, just as I was at your age. I was perhaps even more "sensible" (I was definitely more boring Smile ), and I never really even bothered to drink alcohol more than once a year until I was nearly 30, and even then I "did my research" as you put it, to do my best to ensure I was making an informed decision. Now, since then I've taken alcohol more regularly, and fortunately here in Europe there are places where it's legal to use marijuana, which I have also now tried. I've also tried a fair few of the "legal drugs" manufactured by legit pharmaceutical companies - you probably know the sort - each claims to have the effects of a popular controlled substance like LSD or Mushrooms or whatever, and I am told by people who use those substances that sometimes the effects are close, and sometimes nowhere near.

Again tho, even when doing drugs legally, I did my research first: I read a load of the "anti drugs" websites, and listened to all the concerns before making my decision to try it, and took many precautions. Things like being sure of the exact dosage of what I was taking, and the known risks of that dosage, and drinking plenty of fluids etc along with it (or whatever other precautions are advised). And now that I have tried such things, I can tell you from experience that sure, they do have some advantages, but (like everything in life) also their disadvantages.

These are too numerous to list, but the following generally holds true: for every high there is a low, and because of the high, the normal state you had before you ever tried drugs eventually SEEMS like a low.

One of the "high" effects I experienced from marijuana is that my thinking was more free - less structured. . . but again this is sort of debatable whether that was "better" - I would not advise (for example) watching horror movies whilst stoned. That would most likely lead to a "bad trip" - there is no true safe place and there's no truly safe drug, but if you're set on doing it, you can at least minimise the risk: have someone who is not stoned who can watch out for you, and do it in a safe, comfortable environment, and not out on the town like some people do. Whenever I have ever taken anything the first dose has been a fraction of what they say the usual dose is (to be safe) and I only slowly build up to what is usually considered a single normal dose if there are no ill effects. And to do it safely, you're probably best to set aside a whole day where you're sure you have no other commitments - just like if you were drinking alcohol you wouldn't go out driving - since you can't know how long it will take to get the drug (whatever it is) truly out of your system, and you're judgment will probably be impaired (mine was) it's best to stay home etc. So, yes, there are some effects that can "feel good" but really, the precautions necessary to minimise the risk can be quite elaborate. . .

For example: they ARE addictive. And these addictions CAN creep up on you just when you least expect it even IF you are taking all sensible precautions as I was. Even with alcohol for instance, within the limits that my country's government says is safe (no more than 30-40ml per day of alcohol. To put this into perspective, 40ml of alcohol is the amount that is in 100ml of Jack Daniels (or any spirit which is 40% Alcohol By Volume). And it's also the same as in one pint of strong beer or cider here in the UK. . . so, even drinking only the UK's recommended maximum of 7 pints of beer per week (at most 1 per day) I realised after a while that if I STOPPED drinking for 2-3 days, I developed a headache. . . a physical pain caused by the small amount of "dependence" that had developed to the drug (alcohol). So, of course, I stopped for a while to give my system a chance to get "clean" again. And then I tried again, because I liked some of the good effects. But of course since your body does get used to any drug (even alcohol), each time you take it, you have to accept the fact that you're either going to need MORE of it to recapture the high, or simply accept that the first high is probably going to be the best, and you'll never recapture that high, otherwise what you're doing is called "chasing" - attempting to recapture that first high, which without ever more dangerous amounts, cannot be done. This is just scientific fact, and having tried the drugs in question I can fully attest that it is true.

No matter how small an amount of any drug you have, you are developing a little bit of tolerance, a little bit of dependence, and therefore, you are at risk of falling into the trap that everyone thinks they can avoid, and IF you ever allow yourself to increase the dosage at all (even on legal drugs like alcohol) you have to accept that you are increasing your risks of becoming addicted. And you also have to accept, that yes, you have will power, but for everyone there is always a level of addiction that will be beyond their will power to handle, and therefore, drugs CAN "ruin your life" even if you take all the necessary precautions. There is no way to be "safe."

And then there's a million other factors: like the fact that with any illegal drug, you are trusting your life to someone who is willing to commit criminal acts: you are ingesting (or inhaling, or whatever) something that contains not only the known risks of the drug itself, but all the risks of whatever it's been contaminated with. And since they're illegal, there is no system of checks and balances in place like there is with your average food product. There have been reported cases of people doing bad things even to stuff like marijuana, simply to increase their profits because they are hooked on the stuff. Stuff like spraying it with glass-grit to make it appear whiter (as some people associate paler strains with a better effect, although this isn't necessarily true).

So, taking legal drugs is risky, but taking illegal drugs has a whole other lot of less measurable risks attached to it. Even smart sensible people like you or I can fall into the traps.

Granted some drugs (like alcohol) can have good effects if used responsibly, but the truth is using them responsibly seems beyond a large proportion of users, even for drugs deemed relatively safe like alcohol. It's only natural that if you enjoy something, you'll want to do it more and more. Nobody is immune to this risk, no matter how careful. I'm not saying DON'T use drugs (legal or otherwise) I'm just saying accept that you are taking risks with your very life, and maybe even the lives of others if you later get stoned (or drunk) enough to think you can drive fine etc. . . I mean sure everything in life is a risk, and we weigh these risks up, but if you take illegal drugs you have to accept that the risks are even harder to weigh up since there is no "health and safety" department in the average drug-lord's mansion - they usually care more for their own profit than your health. Do you really want to be putting their stuff inside you?

So, yes, I've had good experiences and bad experiences, but I KNOW I'd have had far more bad experiences if I hadn't took all the precautions I did, even tho to many users they will seem excessive. And I know some people (perfectly sensible, ordinary people like yourself) who thought they could handle it, and ended up doing something daft whilst on drugs that they regretted. Remember how I said some of them "free" your mind a little. It all sounds great and very "Matrix" until your mind is so free you decide to pour boiling water on yourself. Believe me, it happens. . . So yes, drugs can be fun but they can also be dangerous. Like fire or electricity, it's something most people steer clear of for a reason.

Whether or not I (or another person) takes drugs is a completely different matter: they're risking their own life, but as for your own life, well, that's "yours" to some extent. Of course you also have to factor in the pain it will cause to loved ones if you become a junky, so it's not just your risk, heck, it's all a big risk. I can tell you more if you need but I hope that helps. Smile
 
Caroline
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 12:27 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
The_Dude wrote:
Ah, but that poses two questions.

One, does age really dictate maturity?

Two, is there really any such thing as universally sound advice?

I appreciate your concern/advice, but, whose to say that I lack the maturity to do so? I may lack the age, but what relevance would that have if age didn't dictate maturity entirely.

Caroline-
You're too young because your body is too young physically, please dont do any drugs at your age simply because your body is way too young, the damage you'd cause to your body is far more when you're still developing and growing, i would strongly advise against it at your age.Smile
 
Vorapsak
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 11:43 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
If you believe that the chemicals that sit on a government ban-list or which are casually peddled in pill form are completely different and more damaging, even in tiny quantities, than the chemicals you consume in your air and liquids and solids, then you should have a source with conclusive, inarguable, unbiased evidence which anyone can understand. And it should be about a paragraph long. For if it requires thousands of pages from a neurology textbook or years of university, then it signals that you are simply being partial to your belief systems. A statement as provocative and as important as "Asprin is killing your brain" should be easily consumable by everyone and without dissent.

It is absurd to put one chemical above another. We are all glucose addicts. If you are unfortunate enough to be hypoglycemic or diabetic, then you experience a withdrawal as potent and as crippling as any opiate addiction. You may even carry glucose pills (a suitable parallel to methadone) for emergency quick-fixes, until you can really dope yourself up again.

You might say that man was never supposed to take this or that drug, but then man was never supposed to eat ice cream. And who are you to say what man is "supposed" to do? We are not separate from nature. Everything we have manipulated to make us what we are has come from the same stuff that made us in the first place. The idea that the "natural" ended when we congregated in Mesopotamia or whatever is a way of thinking straight out of the Bible. This notion that "free thought" is some how separate and mutant and divine; that we are these alien brains in a "natural" world which has nothing to do with us and in which we are privy to all sorts of 'unnatural' dangers is utter nonsense. There are just as many dangers synthesized in the lab as there are synthesized in a garden. The argument that if it is invented (with our natural minds) with chemicals (which come from nature) is nonsense in itself, but is nevertheless used time and time again. It was used hysterically with the invention of the amphetamine. A few decades later, they found it buried in tree bark in South America.

And if you are the type of person who is so afraid of their mind being altered that they avoid taking acetaminophen (which, by the way, has an infinitely lower lethal dose than Heroin), then it is reasonable to suggest that you end your life right now. Consciousness is transient. When you say you wish to preserve your "mind" you really mean that you wish to preserve your ego. And if you never leave the regimen of drugs required for sustenance or the experiences you are familiar with then this is very easy to do. But if, say, you take MDMA once and suddenly your way of looking at people or love or something as superficial as a nightclub is altered completely; or if you take mushrooms and you realize that, say, some behavior of yours has been misguided or you see a new side to a problem or the visuals are spectacular and you never look at your backyard the same way again; then yes, your consciousness has been altered permanently, and yes your brain has been altered permanently because obviously one cannot exist without the other.

But you cannot quantify this with "right" and "wrong", because such a quantification can only exist in comparison with your ego that was; which was, in itself, the sum of chemicals and experiences. What can be right or wrong about an experience or a thought? How can we say that there is a thought or an experience which should not be entertained? Nothing is independently disruptive; it is only so when it meets and clashes with the delicate balance of lies and delusions and ideas which we call "me". Obviously there are things like one's capacity to think or emote or function which one should be concerned about damaging fundamentally. But this happens when something - anything - is consumed in excess. And we call this "abuse" (or "obesity" or "masochism"). The fear of being poisoned is a cheap and easy veil for the real fear of being changed.

Furthermore, it is misguided to leave your fear of alteration at the footstep of chemical compounds. Your consciousness is altered in far more subtle, often more profound and certainly more frequent ways from the decisions you make or the entertainment you consume or the relationships you involve yourself in. Try having a relationship with Xanax for 6 months, and then try having a relationship with an emotionally abusive parent or lover. You'll have rebound anxiety for a few weeks with one, and you'll be sorting out the alterations of consciousness for 30 years in therapy with the other. To say the Xanax is worse simply because it is a pill is to paint your partial opinion of pills over the big picture. Consciousness is transient. To live is to have it altered and it will be altered in one way or another. To choose to try and resist it is to choose from any number of mental disorders: from social anxiety to depression to big boring bloated egos. And when you finally achieve that stagnation you've been searching for, you will find yourself on the way to the cemetery.
 
Stickman
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 01:02 am
@The Dude phil phil,
Nice post Vorapsak, some good points. Just the other day I was mentioning how we like to define things as "man made" and therefore "unnatural" when pretty much everything we have (apart from the odd meteorite and bit of moon-rock etc) comes from the Earth in some way or another. And I agree with what you said about fear of change - we humans do have a fear of change generally. I'm not saying that's a bad thing: some changes of course are for the worse, and so fear of them can be useful, but yes I see what you are saying. Smile

Still, I won't say to "The_Dude" - sure, it's fine to take drugs, partly because I would then be responsible for the outcome. So, it's hard to give an impartial answer without being more callous than I am. Even tho the original poster is someone I've never met (and probably never will) I am the sort of person who doesn't wish anyone harm, and granted, I can't truly protect anyone from harm (even myself) but abstract arguments aside (however valid) I can know I'd feel guilty if I hadn't done my best for a fellow human being. So, I stand by my original post: taking drugs (of any kind) is a risk, just like everyday life is "a risk" but it's preferable to take more calculated risks, where you have more information about the possible effects, and more safeguards (like a qualified doctor prescribing them) than it is to take unknowable risks, like illegal drugs, which could have been cut with god-knows-what.
 
Vorapsak
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 03:00 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
Although I have tried virtually every drug out there - except meth and heroin (don't shoot up, kids) - I do not advocate the use of drugs merely for feel-good, summer-of-love, vacuous reasons.

Addiction is a euphemism for a lack of self-control. In drug use, as in life, there are people who excel and people who fail, and in between there is the majority. For every 100 cocaine users, I would estimate that 1 becomes an addict, and for every 500 1 will become an addict with disastrous consequences (and by users I mean using more than once). But medicine and society in general approach the issue as if the inverse is true. Drug policy is written based on the lowest common denominator, and the medical community is left to treat their poor impulse control. But the vast majority of users, including the benign or productive addict, are ignored.

To a large extent it is all pre-determined. Those who are inclined to destructive behavior will find ways to destroy themselves with drugs or without. Is refreshing your browser every 45 seconds in hope for a new post, or is vegetating in front of your television set for hours every day not abuse as well?
 
Stickman
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 03:30 pm
@Vorapsak,
I don't know for sure if the figures are accurate, but I agree completely with the spirit of your post. For example, I've only used a few drugs, mainly Alcohol and marijuana (legally), but even the alcohol I get hassle for from some people, and it does get tiring sometimes having to reassure people sometimes. I drank for the past 3 nights in a row (only about 40ml alcohol per night, or the equiv of four 25ml shots of fine 40% ABV whiskey). . . and tonight I FELT a need to drink. . so I didn't . . . simple willpower.

So yes it would seem that even when I do drink a lot and get an addiction that I can feel, physically, I still have enough self control to know when to pull back, and do so. Of course I've not lived my whole life yet so I can't know I won't ever fall pray to the addiction and can't be sure I'll always be able to handle it, which is why if someone asked me if they SHOULD begin taking some addictive drug they hadn't previously needed I'd suggest they don't, and first think why they want to now?

Truth is I first drank because of boredom - had too much free time on my hands so I passed it with alcohol and television (or alcohol and friends). And it worked a treat: my favourite comedy was more funny than usual whilst drunk. So it would seem it does have it's uses, and it would seem it is possible to be addicted to something AND still function (provided you are feeding the addiction and not letting it grow out of control to the point where it damages your health too much etc). It's a calculated risk.

Same with marijuana - if done right I'd say it can be of great benefit, but I don't advise anyone to do it because I can't be sure they can handle it - sounds patronising but I can't be sure I can handle it either, but that's my risk to asses I guess.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 04:57 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
Sorry, but I'm going to step in here and say that it's quite outrageous to be recommending the use of recreational drugs, on a section of this forum designed for 13-17 year old kids.

I'd hope we could avoid such things here on philosophy forum; This is not Erowid, and if people want to get opinions on the best doseage of mushrooms or acid to take, plenty of websites abound for that information. Shouldn't be on here.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 05:00 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
Vorapsak - great post, very well-spoken!

It seems many are short-sighted regarding this topic: A stigma is attached to "drugs", and I see the majority ignoring the harsh chemicals nearly each and every one of use consume daily. "Drugs", and more specifically the illegal variations, are another classic example of problem-overgeneralization; we see P cause harm X on an individual, we extrapolate harm X to all individuals, and deduce P is the problem. We then take P, and start making cases to appease ourselves - we always know the problem! :rolleyes:

It appears the 'instant' effects of many of the drugs are what seem to *shake* some people. It may take years to see the effects chemical additives and growth hormones have on your liver from commercial food products, but with marijuana one can see the effects almost instantly. The morally-butchered assumptions concerning these instantaneous effects are what frustrate me the most: Who's to say what is a "good" or "bad" experience for my body? Are these people really so presumptuous and arrogant they believe they know what's best for every one?

"You're harming your body!"

As mentioned above, using the majority of drugs moderately doesn't harm your body any more than what we already consume from the super market. Marijuana and Salvia are actually considered good for the body by many spiritualists and even medical practitioners. Shouldn't we at least reevaluate the statement, "All drugs are bad for you!. It seems almost absurd not to.

"Stop running away from your problems!"

As if the person accusing doesn't have an outlet. Whether it be video games, TV watching, traveling, or even masturbation, I'm sure that individual has an outlet. My outlet may happen to be psychedelics every week. And if I do them moderately (responsibly!), I will have no greater repercussions than your blurred vision from TV watching!

"You're too young!"

Too young? I may even give my child a beer when he's 12. Don't like that? Fine, I'll give him two! I will raise him responsibly and let him know the repercussions for his actions, but by no means will I shield him from experiences simply because, "I feel it's not an appropriate experience". It wholly depends on the individual - age can yield wisdom, but maturity is not directly proportional with age, that's for sure. And I note can in regards to wisdom, because it's very clear many adults do not hold any worthwhile.

I'm still bewildered sex is considered "risque" still. Isn't it about time our society mature, and we begin to rid ourselves of these silly stigmas perpetuated by all these moral codes, appeasing ourselves?

Pangloss wrote:
Sorry, but I'm going to step in here and say that it's quite outrageous to be recommending the use of recreational drugs, on a section of this forum designed for 13-17 year old kids.

I'd hope we could avoid such things here on philosophy forum; This is not Erowid, and if people want to get opinions on the best doseage of mushrooms or acid to take, plenty of websites abound for that information. Shouldn't be on here.
No one should be recommending anything to anyone here outside of the realm of philosophical thought. One is allowed to share their viewpoints concerning this matter, but solicitation is out of the question.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 05:13 pm
@Zetherin,
Pangloss wrote:
Yea, I guess the statement, "Pursue the psychedelics." is not a recommendation. That is definitely crossing the line, in my opinion, even though I understand where he is coming from. Not a healthy thing to be recommending to 13-17 year old kids on this forum.

Regardless of anyone's opinions on drug use, fact is, the use of psychedelics can get you prison time, and if arrested for possession of these, will destroy your record. Recommending it on here is a problem.


That's fair. I chose not to take it out of context - I believe he was stating that if someone were to seek something drug-related they should seek a psychedelic for the "experience". I didn't think he was soliciting the use of any specific drug. No one should be soliciting ANY drug (or any medical advice, for that matter)

I completely understand how it could be taken out of context, though.
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 06:13 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
This thread was moved out of the young philosophers forum. Some posts were removed and some recommendations edited.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 06:52 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
I just want to make note here exposure is not the cause of children (or anyone) harming themselves or others.

If a child perusing this forum saw "Do X drug for the experience", I wouldn't expect the child to immediately do such a thing. If we are to assume children act upon every notion they read, then they surely would be susceptible to these examples:

  • Our obesity thread (fatty foods):

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will go out and gorge themselves?
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
  • Any thread dealing with Muslim or other religious extremists:

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will go out on a suicide mission for "God"?
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
  • The thread dealing with violence in video games:

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will go out and reenact what they see in Mortal Kombat?
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
  • Any thread dealing with critical thought, which may, yes, cause *harm* upon themselves (releasing their mind from stagnant belief systems):

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will become psychologically troubled due to intense critical thought?
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
  • The thread dealing with slavery:

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will advocate inequality and treat others as if they're inferior?
[/INDENT][/INDENT]
  • The thread dealing with sexual intercourse:

[INDENT][INDENT] Should we assume every child will go out and have random unprotected sex?

[/INDENT][/INDENT]On the flip side, do you think any of our children would immediately perform good acts (acts without the presupposed negative connotation) upon reading them on the forum?

---

Allowing our children knowledge, I feel, is most important -- Exposure, in my opinion, is natural, and should be a part of every parent's mindset. It's important for a child to ask questions, and it's important for us to give a child a responsible, well-thought out answer, but I don't believe shielding the child helps. It's important, in my opinion, that the child be exposed - this is not advocating or opposing. It's giving the child knowledge with which to make a responsible choice. We shouldn't *force* either way; even if we did, children nowadays will still get their hands on whatever they seek. If they're aware of the consequences, instead of analyzing the situation off something as morally-tossed as, "No, that's just bad for you!", they'll be in a much better position.

Justin, you seem like someone who would be a good parent: Do you sincerely believe your child would do X drug after reading it on an on-line forum? If he's even halfway as intelligent as you are at 9, I would think he would ask questions, not just immediately do the act. At least that's what my nephew does. I think you should give your child more credit.

And this post isn't meant to contest your choice to remove what you removed - I'm genuinely philosophizing.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 09:08 pm
@The Dude phil phil,
Okay, except all of those other examples you gave are not analogous to the explicit statement that was the problem in this thread. There is no one telling anyone in other threads to go commit illegal acts.

I'm all for children being knowledgeable about things before they consider them; that's why I tried to raise some questions for them to think about in my first response to this thread.

Recommending illegal activities though, does not further anyone's knowledge or serve any purpose. Actually, if some kid did come on here and read that recommendation and then went out and hurt himself, the owner(s) of this forum could potentially be liable for it.

Hallucinogens are a schedule 1 controlled substance in the US, and are highly controlled in most other "civilized" countries as well. If someone is arrested for possession, they could do prison time, and depending on the amount, have a felony on their record. At the very least, they would have a hard time finding suitable employment after that point, if the charge sticks, not to mention, a teenager would automatically become ineligible for any federal financial assistance when seeking higher education. So those are some things to think about.

Beyond that, I don't have any problem with having a discussion on the ethics of drug use, or drug legalization, and it certainly is a legitimate topic. But we can discuss it as an issue, without making it some personal engagement, where we are listing all of the drugs we personally have done, or telling people what drugs are best to do. That doesn't contribute to a meaningful discussion.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » General Discussion
  3. » Recreational use of drugs (legal and illegal)
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 09/28/2021 at 07:58:22