Anyone fancy a guess as to whether Schopenhauer and Team Existentialism would be wounded in their human exceptionalism or feel deeply vindicated by just how simple a brain it takes to feel enough psychological malaise to drive one to drugs?
To get high.
For the same reasons people do? (Didn’t read the article, but it seems pretty fucking obvious. )
So, fun fact about modern western society: of all the mind-altering ‘drugs’ that we use, the only ones that are socially acceptable are the ones we drink. (Although a recent visit to Seattle makes me think that truism isn’t long for this world.)
George Washington had (among many other businesses) a rather large and profitable whiskey distillery. He was an early proponent of adding value – why sell grain when you can sell more valuable booze made from the grain.
I wouldn’t say that’s true of the Americas, there are lots of options here.
Given the logistics of shipping perishable, relatively low value, bulk grain at the time, I’d find it hard to argue with his strategy. Even if the customer actually wanted grain, it’s not as though I could just put on my powdered wig and summon a bulk carrier with a dry nitrogen fill to keep the pests out. Unless they were right down the road, the best I could do would likely be to displace their local booze, letting them keep the grain used to make it, by shipping them grain in delicious drinkable form.
They’re only human.
Silence, heretic: just as when some human burial is discovered with a pot stash that looks like it was stolen from the props room of a stoner comedy this is evidence of ‘ritual use’ or ‘shamanic practice’, there simply must be a non-recreational explanation for this situation.
Recreational use of psychoactive drugs was invented by negroes and mexicans in order to debauch white womanhood in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and later perfected by hippies dedicated to communism and the destruction of America. There is simply no historical precedent for these uses of psychoactive compounds, despite the fact that animals, and humans, exploit the hell out of every other useful property of their environment. None, none whatsoever!
Why are you carrying a story by this man? He has never adequately apologised for his outright plagiarism, his sockpuppetry on wikipedia (editing his own profile and defaming other journalists he fell out with), and a host of other crimes against journalism. He makes stuff up and is not to be trusted.
Did you not even check his wikipedia profile (since corrected: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Hari)? He (eventually) lost his job when the scandal broke, had to give back his Orwell prize (although to the best of my knowledge not the £2,000 they gave him) and damn near sunk the Independent newspaper. I could go on.
I believe the ‘war on drugs’ has caused inestimable harm. The approach to recreational drug use is desperately in need of change. But if this is the best advocate that you can find for reform then we can all forget it.
Sorry to be so critical on my first post. I love this website, but am shocked you would carry a puff piece for someone as discredited as Hari.
Hasn’t the drunken elephants myth been thoroughly discredited by now?
recent article on Hari: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/02/johann-hari-interview-drugs-book-independent
I had not seen this so many thanks for posting the link. While we all deserve second chances what Hari was getting up to was pretty grim and he has had four years to show this level of contrition, which, given he now has a book to sell, I will take with a pinch (read: several tonnes) of salt.
I’ve been reading an account of the Manhattan Project. It’s not news to me; I’ve been well acquainted with the story of the making of the atomic bomb and all its intricacies for many years now. Still, I like to seek out different points of view of the same historical events – no two are the same. In this case, the story doesn’t focus on the atomic bomb really, at all. Instead, it focuses on the people who came, and dwelled, at Los Alamos, from a social perspective; like, the constant parties thrown all over the base for sheer relief from the unrelenting pressures. The fact that most of the scientists were actually prevented (and followed the rules) of telling their own wives what they were doing.
This is not new news. But what strikes me here is just how many, and much, scientists, all the way to Robert Oppenheimer, were pretty much fucked out of their skulls on most weekend nights. They would put modern partying to shame; “Oppie” was “renowned” for his martinis. I am assuming that these martinis, in addition to the lab alcohol – 200-proof, and I am not making that up – were handed out like candy. And consumed like candy. The hangovers on Sundays were all part of the jollity; in those days, it was “hair of the dog” rather than recriminations on “how fucked up you were last night and what hateful remarks you said to that woman” blah blah blah.
Need I remind anyone that these people constructed a nuclear fission weapon within the space of zero to 28 months? On a project that at one time supposedly consumed ten percent of ALL THE ELECTRICITY USED BY THE UNITED STATES? One that, if conducted today, would cost in excess of $40 billion?
And most – at least a lot – were fucked up beyond belief a lot of the time. At the Trinity test, one scientist was asked by a colleague what he was going to do while watching the test, and he replied, “Well, I’m going to drink from my bottle of scotch.” When asked what he would do if the test were a dud, he replied, “Well, that’s why I’m going to bring two bottles of scotch.”
Kamikaze pilots got so blitzed the night before their missions that they could hardly be thought of as functioning pilots when they got into their planes. The Russians, and the Nazis, mostly fought the entire war so fucked up on alcohol that many – perhaps most – major tactical decisions were made in a haze of drunkenness, and carried out in a haze of drunkenness.
The only person who can actually be exempted from this group is Hitler, but he was so juiced by his doctor on what to most of us would be an almost mind-numbing brew of depressants/stimulants/tranquilizers that it would be the equivalent of us injecting a hit of heroin upon waking up, followed by half a gram of coke, followed by a large dose of Valium, followed by a few snorts of meth . . . well, need I go on? Goering conducted almost his entire war smashed on morphine. To be a drunk – which to me would mean consuming a quart or more of hard alcohol a day – was so commonplace amongst the populations of all the nations – Roosevelt “enjoyed his martinis,” Churchill by all accounts woke up to several glasses of brandy before he even got out of bed – and Stalin, well, 'nuff said.
So . . . this is not new news. Any kind of “temperance” movement is so doomed that I’m amazed at the monumental hypocrisy that underlies them. Richard Nixon was, by all accounts, fucked up beyond belief most nights. This was the leader of the Free World. Mao-tse-tung – same story. Most of human history can be summed up by just one sentence: most of the movers and shakers were so fucked up most of the time that we can pretty much attribute all the events since the Pharaohs to have been conducted Under The Influence.
Now I think I will have another rum and coffee and take a couple of Dilaudid.
I thought that the Nazis were chemically propelled using amphetamine (which were consumed by Allied forces too) and morphine. And Pervitin (crystal meth).
I realize that the extent of my scholarship (Neal Stephenson novels, the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2334397/Nazis-narcotics-How-Hitlers-henchmen-stayed-alert-war-taking-CRYSTAL-METH.html and Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphetamine#History.2C_society.2C_and_culture are not ideal first sources. Quick–someone interview the last surviving WWII vets from all sides of the war before they die and take their secrets with them!
28 months from not-even-a-complete-theory to a prototype instasun. Today it would take way more time than that merely to get the environmental impact paperwork for a single facility. We became wimps mired in bureaucracy, no wonder there are so few great big things done today.
That’s the spirit!
Kamikaze pilots usually used high doses of amphetamines.
Because it makes them feel good or funny?
The Sami (the ingenious people of Lapland) apparently used to feed Amanita muscaria -mushrooms to reindeer and then collect and drink their pee, because reindeer metabolizes the more poisonous components, leaving the “good stuff” in their pee. This is believed to have affected the image of flying reindeer in the myth of Father Christmas; the Sami people were high and thought the reindeer were flying through the air.
The Santa Claus part is all a theory, of course. But it is known for sure that reindeer eat Amanita mushrooms. Why? Well, why not.
That might explain the current condition of quite a few Manhattan project sites. It’s like a crossover between SuperFund site and Choose-your-own-adventure: Nobody knows what exactly is stashed there, or where it is, or whether it’s the radioactivity or the toxicity that will get you first if you open that particular container. Impressive work regardless; but a few corners were definitely cut.