The War On Consciousness
It may not be an active goal of the War on Drugs, but it is undoubtedly a war on conciousness and cognitive liberty.
The War on Drugs has failed in many ways and affects many aspects of life. Usually, arguments against the War on Drugs tend to focus on economic, medical, and criminal failures, but today we want to look at something else: the idea that the War on Drugs is a war on consciousness.
Consciousness is a funny thing, and we don’t simply mean being awake. It affects everything from simple awareness of the world around us, to how we react and feel, all the way to the views, trepidations and emotions we see within ourselves. It is extremely complex, and in a way, our consciousness is who we are. Although we all know we are conscious, science knows very little about it. It goes beyond simply signals in the brain, making it one of life’s biggest current mysteries.
What’s more, our perceptions of consciousness are severely limited to our own experience of life. Psychoactive drugs have the ability to expand this consciousness beyond what we would previously think possible, allowing us to view things in a way that the normal conscious mind never could. It can leave us, even after a trip, with a new outlook on life, and an expanded way of thinking.
As such, it is not unreasonable to see drug laws as severely limiting, and controlling what we can do with our minds. As cheesy as it sounds, the War on Drugs is a form of mind control, keeping our minds locked in these preconceived cages that society deems acceptable. It is an affront to cognitive liberty, the idea that we have sovereign control over our minds and goes well beyond simple freedom of thought.
Terrence McKenna famously wrote:
“We’re playing with half a deck as long as we tolerate that the cardinals of government and science should dictate where human curiosity can legitimately send its attention and where it cannot. It’s a preposterous situation. It is essentially a civil rights issue, because what we’re talking about here is the repression of a religious sensibility. In fact, not a religious sensibility, the religious sensibility.”
And be in no doubt, the prohibition of psychedelics and the control it places over cognitive liberty does dictate where human curiosity and creativity can focus its attention. Some of the most revolutionary technologies, innovations, and ideas of our time were conceived thanks to psychedelics, and without them our society would be a very different place.
Fortunately for us, there are greater minds than ours out there who are able to go into the detail and reasoning that we cannot. One such is author, Graham Hancock. A couple of years back Hancock gave a TED talk on just this subject, outlining with great detail exactly how we view consciousness within society, and how it is held back. We strongly implore you to check it out!