by Michael W. Stowell

October 7, 2002


Ever since humanity fell asleep we've been dreaming one long, tragic nightmare that has become so intense and frightening many of us try to keep it out of our consciousness as much as possible, or just enough to get by. However, we must be careful to know the origins of the phantasm, so we may learn from it. What created the chimera in whose belly we now dwell? Do you recall?

Drugs were used ceremonially in most early societies; I suppose that's where 'organized' religion caught on. People got together and smoked pipes, or drank beer and wine, or chewed leaves and berries, or ate peyote or mushrooms, or sucked nuts, while passing on legends and lore. I'm sure they were creating an altered sense of community that resulted in varied perceptions of reality.

Of course, each human micro-culture had its own favorite drugs and traditions and many choices were limited by custom and superstition, not availability. Some Judeo-Christian records reveal penalties of death by stoning for pharmacological wizards, except for those who conjured alcohol, and it seems that all 'organized' religion prescribes penalties for some kinds of drug use.

The use of drugs has altered individual consciousness, cultures and whole societies for ages before remembrance and since. We see bears and elephants using alcohol and cats rolling in catnip, so self-medication is probably quite natural for us, too, at times. I believe some of the potions used throughout history have had harmful effects, especially when mixed with anthropomorphism; that religion is the "opiate of the masses" is not entirely correct, it's mixed with a culture of repression and generates conflict not community, through 'believers and unbelievers'. Heighten that sense of alienation and hostility with drugs that foster unsociable, unnatural behavior and you perpetuate most intensely the nightmare of this world in which we live.

Religion and drugs are not our only sources of divisiveness and delusion. We like competitive games of sport and being in first place. We aspire to own and control the most and champion those who do. Our sexual mores and mating rituals engender dominant/submissive behavior and values of inequality.

The spooks in the nightmare are chasing us with fear and hatred. We scurry along on our daily, monthly, yearly paths marking time with ceremony, marking our births, marriages and deaths and mixing drugs with religious death penalties. We dash for security and struggle to keep it, always fearful of someone getting in our way and causing us to stumble and be caught by the spooks, of turning and facing the spooks. They shame us to fear, they tease us to hatred. It's rape and murder and bloodlust, this nightmare, and oh-so intoxicating.

THC molecules mixed with a light dusting of mescaline crystals in a large inhaler, please. Make that a round for the whole country, the whole world. Pass the inhalers.

Lettuce prey.

While we're at it, let's legalize all drugs and begin replacing those dangerous combinations of medications and meditations with others that are natural and helpful to the body and mind, those that will help us and our descendants return peacefully to our natural state and remain there, in harmony with nature.


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Culture Change - Sustainable Energy Institute, Arcata, California

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Biocracy, by Michael W. Stowell (Feb. 2001)

Actions & Ideas to NOT play the Game (Activism under the Radar Screen)


Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Arcata Library in Arcata, CA. He is the producer/editor/videographer of numerous public access television programs; he is a naturalist, a gardener, a bicyclist and a Swans' columnist.

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Published October 7, 2002
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