Thursday, February 23, 2006

the 25th hour

As I write, the time borders on 3 a.m. I have tried to sleep, but my racing mind refuses to quiet, which is a typical phenomenon after experiencing a good movie. About an hour ago, I finished "The 25th Hour" by Spike Lee. The film gave me a lot to consider. It reminded me of the film "Traffic"; both films examine how drugs and America's War on Drugs affect individual lives and communities. The sharpest memory I have from "Traffic" is the scene when the U.S. Drug Czar played by Michael Douglas finally admits with a broken heart that the War on Drugs is really just a War against our own families. With "The 25th Hour", I was moved by the notion that Edward Norton's character, by following his Father's wish to run away and avoid his drug-related prison sentence, manages to start a new life with his girlfriend that includes children and grandchildren. The film ends with the reality that that life, and those children, are just a dream, and Norton's character gives up the family "that wasn't suppose to be" to serve his drug-related 7 year prison term.

For the last couple of years I have been writing about the negative consequences of poor political policy-making. I have ranted ad nauseum about the destructive ideologies of the "War on Drugs", and I have done so at the risk of sounding like a drug-crazed madman. I set out on a personal mission to understand America's "War on Drugs" from an anthropological standpoint. I wanted to learn about the cultural functions of "drug use" and the conditions that led to "drug abuse". I wanted to study illegal drugs because I realized that the way our society addressed the issue was polarizing and misinformed. I became friends with people who "did drugs", and I learned from them that people simply need to be loved and appreciated, and that destructive behavior is the consequence of poor social integration. I decided that although I would skip the anthropological methodology of "participant-observation", I would read as many books on the issue of drugs as I could; if I wasn't going to "do" drugs, I was going to read about people doing them and I was going to learn as much about the cultural history of "intoxication" as I could. What I've learned so far (and continue to learn) is a TRUTH that has no legal witness. It is a truth that extends back to the earliest moments of human existence on Earth and sets the stage for the raw mechanics of human consciousness. It is a truth that dares us to examine the nature of Constitutional civil rights and the meaning of the 1st Amendment.

I've met and dialogued with many people. Few of them know anything of what I say. It is as if I have been studying a dark secret, one that no one wants to admit to. I suggest to them that our society, constructed by fallible human minds, is engaged in cultural beliefs that weaken and oppress its people. I suggest to them the possibility that our society might have some things wrong, that we are making mistakes within our legal system that are undermining whole communities and arbitrarily criminalizing otherwise well-meaning citizens. I suggest to them that we are erasing important cultural knowledge, INDIGENOUS knowledge that reaches back before the onset of history itself, knowledge that gives us insight into the very chemical construction of human consciousness, and knowledge that would push the envelope in medical and psychological treatment. I suggest to them that our society's problems with "drugs" stem more from our REPRESSION OF KNOWLEDGE than from the presence or use of "Schedule I narcotics". It seems, the more I learn, and the more I speak out about what I've learned, the bigger the wall is that I speak into.

Does anyone care? Does anyone care that bad political policies are destroying American communities and breaking up families? Does anyone care that bad political policies have made the United States of America the world leader in population incarcerations? Does anyone care that bad political policies are enflating a shadow economy that is sucking American dollars out of the American economy and diverting tremendous potential tax reservoirs to violent drug cartels? Does anyone care that this money, which could go towards easing our nation's healthcare crisis, funding our public schools and providing higher wages for teachers, is instead fueling the guerrilla armies that threaten political stability? Does anyone care that bad political policies are witholding powerful and natural medicines from the sick and imprisoning the doctors that prescribe cannabis to terminally ill patients in States that democratically approve such treatments? Does anyone care about the 1st Amendment and the FREEDOM OF THOUGHT?

I do. I care about all these things and so much more. Perhaps I'm just wierd like that, so be it. I'm sticking with my guns on this one.

Our society has embraced misleading political propaganda at the cost of REAL human dignity. I seek to change this, and I'll do it, even if I must work one mind at a time or take on the legal system to do it, as God is my witness, change is coming.

So, if you don't like drugs, ask yourself if what you don't know is contributing to the destruction of American society. You don't have to like drugs to agree with me or to see my perspective. Personally, I think life is better without the constant need for intoxication, but I won't ignore the reality that human consciousness IS a composition of altered states, and that humanity AS IT EXISTS TODAY is the result of an ancient quest for ecstatic enlightenment. David Lewis-Williams, in his book, The Mind in the cave, uses a broad pallet of interdisciplinary scientific evidence to show that the ecstatic art of shamanism is the ancient root of all modern religious and cultural belief. His is one book in many that indicate the reality of humanity's long lost evolutionary secret.

Still, the bad policies continue to flow out of Congress. Scientific and cultural knowledge is suppressed, evidence is intentionally ommitted from the court system, communities are ruined, and Americans are "free" to live a blissfully ignorant life at the expense of their own Constitutional sovereignty.

Not on my watch. I'm declaring WAR on the War on Drugs. The battle plans for my war will be outlined on this blog, and the scientific knowledge will be redeemed on my other blog, the synthetic universe. America is in her own 25th hour. We are slaves, but we can still be free. Stay tuned to find out how.

3 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

An interesting observation. Right now one of my best child hood friends is sitting in a federal prison serving a 6 year sentence for drug possession and intent to distribute. This is a difficult subject as my friend was no saint, however he was not a violent criminal either. Yet he gets more prison time then many convicted violent criminals. It really makes no sense. Drugs are a problem. I don't have the answers but I do know the system we have in place is not working. We are ignoring the problem and patting ourselves on our self righteous backs.

5:58 PM  
Blogger sourmonkey said...

thank you, John, for the comments. I hope you continue to examine this sensitive yet critical issue.

there are better ways to deal with the problems of "illegal drugs" than simply locking people away in prison. First, however, our society must come to understand the historical sigificance of drug use and how these tendencies influence the overall functions of human consciousness. It's a big problem, and one that touches the cognitive architecture of the human mind, a subject that science has yet to fully understand.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Emy said...

Top 3 Things I saw in New York City today:
3. I saw buildings the size of planets
2. My first celebrity
1. On the subway ride home, there was a man smoking a rock of cocaine, in a very crowded car, and sitting across from us. It was crazy...who am I kidding, it was awesome!

8:38 PM  

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