Wednesday, April 9, 2014
CANNABIS PROHIBITION: WAR AGAINST JOY AND INSIGHT
When we get high with ganja we reliably feel happy. We often gain improved insight and perspective from “seeing the world in a new light”. Pleasure and “understanding”, however, are two major reasons pot is illegal.
No “ruling class” would like an herb that stimulates critical thinking, or creates joy that is not connected to buying something. Puritanical Americans think that pleasure not “paid for” is immoral – pot contains no hangover and must be sinful.
Happiness, laughter, pleasure, and joy are the first attractions of feeling high. Looking deeper, you may find enhanced insight; a deeper understanding of human relationships, food, art, music, sensuality, and even complex intellectual problems. And sex is stupendous.
The joy within cannabis has been known since history began. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus described how Scythian warriors would get inside little tents, burn cannabis, and “howl with joy in these vapor baths”. The top Roman physician Galen wrote that hemp would be given to guests at banquets “to promote hilarity and happiness”. Jamaican Sam Brown writes “All hail great ganja, the solvent of gloom”.
Americans aren’t worried about “drugs”, we consume an astounding amount of legal and illegal drugs. We aren’t worried about “addiction” either. Caffeine is freely given to children and is a fixture of most work places. The physical and social harm of legal alcohol is tragically obvious. Addictive deadly cigarettes are taxed and regulated. Overdose deaths from legal pharmaceuticals dwarf illegal drug deaths. You can’t die from cannabis, or harm your brain; but authorities won’t tolerate “irrational exuberance”.
Insight is even more subversive than unwarranted joy. In the Garden of Eden there was a tree of knowledge. Eating its fruit gave you the “knowledge of good and evil”, and “let you be as gods”. God should share the magical fruit – but this immature “God” jealously turned knowledge gained from plants into catastrophic “original sin”.
Cannabis can catalyze detachment, allowing you to see the big picture - and put facts and concepts together in newly creative ways. Top scientist Carl Sagan said that cannabis helped him work on “particularly difficult problems”. While stoned in the shower one day Sagan had an inspiration about the “invalidities of racism in terms of Gaussian distribution curves” (?). “He started writing with soap, then left the shower and worked feverishly for an hour, writing the outline of 11 short essays. He later found these to be valuable thoughts, and used them in books and speeches”.
Cannabis emboldens the urge to question, to joke, to satirize and laugh at authority.
Nobody explains the insight gained from cannabis as succinctly as the old black farm worker “C.K.” talking to his young white friend “Harold” in the story “Red Dirt Marijuana” by Terry Southern.
As C.K. got his “gage” out of the fruit jar Harold asked him “How come it’s against the law if it’s so all fired good”?
“Well, I used to study ‘bout that myself,” said C.K.,...
He laughed “It ain’t because it make young boys like you sick, I tell you that much”.
(Harold) “Well, what the heck is it then?”
“I tell you what it is”, he said then, “it’s cause a man see too much when he git… high, that’s what. He see right through ever’thing ... you understan’ what I say?
(Harold)”What the heck are you talking about C.K.?”
(C.K.) “Well, maybe you too young to know what I talkin’ ‘bout - but I tell you they’s a whole lotta trickin an’ lyin’ go on in the world... they’s a lot of ole bullcrap go on in the world ... well a man git high he see right through all those tricks and lies, an all that ole bullcrap. He see right through there into the truth of it!”
(Harold) “Truth of what?”
”The imagination is more untrammeled than in any other form of intoxication.”
-American Medical Association report, 1925
“There is no drug in the pharmacopeia today that would produce the pleasurable sensations you would get from cannabis.”
-Charles B. Fauns, New York Treatment Center Dire
“The eye, altered, alters all.”
Quotes from Soloman -1966, Grinspoon,- 1994, Southern- 1960, Courtwright-2002, Genesis