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October 30, 2005

Heavy, Man

Our species, Homo sapiens, seems to have  arrived at a critical watershed in its tenure on planet Earth; we are now at a stage where the biggest threat to our collective survival is clearly our continuing inability to control our own collective behavior. Although 500 years might seem a trivial interval from the standpoint of the evolutionary process which produced the human brain, it's now quite clear that  the enhanced efficiency of brain function that was enabled  by the cultural development known as 'science' has had enormous impact- not only on our own species, but on all others., It now seems likely  that technology derived from science since the Renaissance may finally be influencing critical inorganic cycles like global weather- and not necessarily to our benefit

The great irony is that the marvelous cognitive engine between our ears, which has allowed our species to dominate its global environment like no other is also seriously flawed. The even greater irony is that, although recognizing that flaw should now be possible via to the same cognitive processes which led to quantum theory, space exploration, genetic engineering and organ transplantation, both the historical record and the events recorded in our daily newspapers show us headed in the wrong direction- directly away from the critical understanding any solution would require. It's axiomatic that in order to solve any problem, one first has to understand it. In that context, society's present 'drug problem,' which seems as contentious and as far from 'solution' as ever, becomes an excellent example of- and a metaphor for understanding-  the cognitive frailty I'm referring to.

Our species doesn't yet seem capable of even realizing its long term survival is now in the balance;  thus it will require some critical changes in both thinking and collective  behavior to avert looming catastrophes. Indeed; I can be reasonably certain that the majority of humans with enough interest to read these words would disagree with them; some violently- even to the point of wanting to punish me for having uttered them. That reality simply makes my point: the tragic flaw man has yet to deal with is the impact his feelings ('emotions') have on his cognition. It's so profound that we have yet to be able to even study our emotions objectively. Quite the opposite; all the nations in the 'civilized' world are now bound by treaty to arrest and punish anyone found transporting certain designated agents (drugs) with the ability to modify human emotions directly. Even worse, the same signatory nations have erected barriers against any unbiased  evaluation of either the policy itself or of its impact on society.

A final irony is that the nation most responsible for demanding-  and later promulgating and enforcing- that policy has done so on patently spurious grounds; the policy itself has been responsible for an unparalleled corruption of scientific thought- and yet it has received the tacit endorsement of  most of the very scientific institutions which should be leading the charge against it.

The above 'heresy'- expressed in about 500 words-  results from a relatively simple ad-hoc clinical study of admitted drug users which began 4 years ago and is still ongoing and thus incomplete. The overall purpose of this blog will be to connect the dots between the heresy (with modifications as required) and the findings which gave rise to it. It is only fair to acknowledge that the study has yet to be well received by many- save for the applicants whose pot use was explored by the interview developed to study it- and, of necessity, only those examined after a certain stage in its development. Indeed; understanding the resistance manifested by avowed supporters of "medical marijuana" to the realities disclosed by pot applicants has been as important to my own understanding as the data itself.

It appears that both the need (desire) of certain humans to use drugs- and of others to repress and/or punish that use- are not only closely related phenomena,  but also important manifestations of our inherent cognitive weakness.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at October 30, 2005 08:52 PM


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