• dukkha
    193
    I'd hazard almost everyone on this forum takes drugs. Most likely caffeine and alcohol, but I'm sure a lot of people on this forum have experimented with other substances. I would guess that people drawn to philosophy for some reason are also in general drawn to drugs, and altered states of mind/experience. Humans love altering our consciousness - hell ever since childhood we spun around until to we were dizzy.

    So why are drugs rarely discussed in a philosophical context? Should we take drugs?

    Do you?
  • Cavacava
    760
    Should we take drugs?

    I think in so far as in 'taking a drug' and at the same time not putting yourself or anyone else in jeopardy, it is neither right nor wrong. It probably can be argued that by taking just about any drug long term you risk possibly harming yourself or others (as a result of an addiction say), but I think how I treat my self is my own affair, between me and my conscience.

    I like coffee, beer, wine, grass. I've tried others, not real interested, except the infrequently like if I have to go by jet to Europe.
  • Hanover
    846
    I don't do drugs. Unless the benefits outweigh the negatives, you shouldn't do drugs. There might be some subjectivity in weighing the pros and the cons, but assuming there's not a real legitimate purpose, it's probably a better idea to live within a normal state of consciousness.

    That being said, I'm not advocating enforcing drug abstinence on anyone, mostly because the negatives of the enforcement tend to be more negative than just suffering the natural consequences of the drug, but all things considered, it's probably best in most cases to voluntarily abstain.
  • Michael
    1.9k
    Alcohol, too?
  • Rich
    87
    I think it is difficult to define what is a drug. Clearly we live in a drugged out society. Twice as much people died last year from overdoses of perscription opioid drugs than from illegal heroin. And clearly the consequences of drunken driving is enormous and it is tolerated by our culture. Personally I don't take any drugs. Maybe a dozen aspirin in the last 35 years. My feeling is that to maintain good health just eat good food.
  • Michael
    1.9k
    Twice as much people died last year from overdoses of perscription opioid drugs than from illegal heroin.Rich

    I think a better measure would be the percentage of users who overdose, because if a hundred times more people are taking prescription drugs than illegal heroin then the above comparison is misleading.
  • Emptyheady
    126
    So why are drugs rarely discussed in a philosophical context?dukkha

    Drugs languish mental coherency and distort brain functions in arbitrary (often pleasurable) ways. There is no wisdom in drugs.

    Should we take drugs?dukkha

    Objectively speaking regarding human flourishing, no.

    (I am not talking about medicine, key distinction here)

    Do you?dukkha

    I have done a lot. No wisdom was found.
  • Rich
    87


    What ever happened to "this above all do no harm"?
  • Hanover
    846
    I don't drink a whole lot unless challenged.
  • BrianCerna96
    1
    I think people are going to take drugs regardless of any moral encompassing.

    People take drugs for a number of reasons,
    Perhaps they are bored, curious, depressed, indifferent , free spirited or all of the above.

    Will we take drugs? Thank you but no thank you
    Drugs are expensive.

    The context of drug can be applied to different concepts if we look past the nitty gritty biological inplications of a drug. Whether or not it has psychoactive properties ect.

    Is the problem that needs to be adressed drug related ? Or addiction related.

    Are the two interchageable? This needs to be discussed more.
  • Wosret
    881
    They once did a test with rats which they used to indicate the dangerous addictive powers of heroine, by giving the rat a bottle of water, and a bottle laced with heroine. The rats drank the heroine water until they died.

    Thing is, someone pointed out that they put a rat alone in a cage with nothing to do. When you create a populated, and fun environment, and give the rats the same choices, most of them experiment, but none of them use it regularly, or kill themselves with it.

    I read an article yesterday about what it's like to become blind as an adult, and it mentions that the crushing boredom and isolation that it leads to causes most of them to become addicted to something... and they super get away with it, because being disoriented and clumsy is easily attributed to blindness rather than being drunk or high.

    With the Vietnam war, a shit load of the soldiers had become addicts, and there was a lot of worry about the problems this would cause, but when they came home, like 98% of them just stopped.

    Experimenting with drugs, when they're available would likely be quite common regardless of societal health, but addiction wouldn't be given proper human connections and stuff to do.
  • Nils Loc
    75
    I experimented with non-addictive hallucinatory/dissociative drugs mainly because it gave me inclusion in a social group, it broke down inhibitions. It also wasn't really a choice because I was so desperate for the pleasure of being high with friends. The drugs were a means to really connect with people who are otherwise divided by oppressive cultural norms.

    One night everyone piled on-top of each other and we all felt like we were one organism. It was hilarious and ecstatic.

    My biology got thrown out of whack though. Stress levels went through the roof and I spiraled into severe depression. Two of my friends had a psychotic break. One cut his wrists, another drove through a concrete barrier.

    Depending on the psychological stability or health of the person and the context in which it is used, recreational drug use can be more or less dangerous.
  • Jeremiah
    196


    "Altered states of mind" is an euphemism to make drugs that inhibit your cognitive functions sound better than they actually are. You mind is not "altered"; it is impaired.
  • Hanover
    846
    I think along these lines that a lot of drug use is self medicating. Depression, anxiety, watching your friends get blown up and stuff like that cause people to treat themselves until they're feeling better. On the other hand, if you're taking drugs but not sure why, maybe step back and figure out why you're medicating.
  • dukkha
    193
    You mind is not "altered"; it is impaired.Jeremiah

    This just assumes that people operate best/ideally when sober, and all drugs decrease how one functions. I don't buy it. People can work longer and harder when on stimulants like caffeine and amphetamines. Some people claim they're more creative on certain drugs. People with pain issues certainly operate better when they've ingested opiates. Most people are better at socialization after taking benzos, alcohol, or MDMA. I certainly dance better after a few drinks!

    There might be some subjectivity in weighing the pros and the cons, but assuming there's not a real legitimate purpose, it's probably a better idea to live within a normal state of consciousness.Hanover

    Why is 'for enjoyment' not a legitimate purpose though?

    This reminds me of the cannabis debate where somehow it's seen as better/more acceptable to use cannabis for pain, than for plain enjoyment. Society seems to be more willing to 'allow' cannabis use when there's a medical reason, rather than because the person wants to do it, for their own enjoyment.

    Society seems to really look down upon people who want to take drugs because they enjoy it. They have to have some sort of medical reason. I really don't see why getting pleasure out drug use is so vilified in our culture. I think it's something to do with people seeing the pleasure gained from drug use as 'unearned', as if you should have to work far harder to enjoy yourself.
  • Thorongil
    992
    I can assure you that I take none.
  • Jeremiah
    196


    And if you take enough of them you'll develop superpowers.
  • dukkha
    193


    Why do you have such a negative attitude towards drug use?
  • darthbarracuda
    1.8k
    I've never done drugs before, unless you count caffeine and the rare consumption of alcohol at get-togethers or what have you. Never really have the opportunity to, though I'm not opposed to trying some weed to see what all the fuss is about.
  • Question
    412
    Here's my simple "conclusion" about drugs. Namely, if they aren't psychologically or physiologically addictive, then they aren't necessarily a bad thing. This would seem to rule out most stimulants, opioids, sedatives, and dissociatives with leaving in psychedelics.

    I don't use psychedelics myself due to a medical condition that would be exacerbated by their use; but, I do believe they have their use in controlled settings. Nor, have I ever used drugs to get "happy". I have used the stimulant medication in the past, such as Ritalin and amphetamines for a lifelong struggle with ADD and to function on a higher level (read nootropics). I've even gone so far as dabbling with the world of "research chemicals" where drugs are modified by a slight degree (add a fluorine atom to the structure, etc.), where you are able to obtain them online. I can confidently say that my curiosity with these "research chemicals" have had more negatives than positives overall in my life, and I eventually became addicted to some of them (Ritalin analogs mainly) due to them increasing my self-esteem, confidence, and attention. The other issue people encounter with any type of drug is also tolerance. Once you take a medication your brain adjusts to return itself to homeostasis. Trying to "beat" homeostasis is dangerous and self-destructive.

    I have seen through the underlying cause of my issues with stimulant medications in an irrational belief to function always at 100%, do everything immediately and completely, and find an artificially induced sense of "joy" out of inherently meaningless and mundane tasks.

    Regarding the OP, there is a serious discussion currently in the medical field about the ethics of "doping" mentally. You see it all the time on college campuses, where students will take amphetamines or methylphenidate to boost their desire to complete rather idiotic and mundane assignments. The tendency at the moment in the medical field is to discourage patients from seeking a mental boost from drugs despite there being evidence of some positive effects of certain drugs on cognition. My personal belief is that there will inevitably be demand for such medications with less serious liability (modafinil?) to the patient and their well-being.

    This might come off as dangerous and stupid; but, I'd rather take some Ritalin and read an interesting book, then have a beer and watch TV or smoke pot and be inebriated; but, then again things are become more and more a type of 'Brave New World".
  • Wayfarer
    1.8k
    I like what Ram Dass said about it - he didn't deny the efficaciousness of hallucinogens in glimpsing higher states - how could he have, considering his story - but he also knew you couldn't develop a stable realisation through artificial means. 'When you get the message', he used to say, 'hang up the telephone'.
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