Tuesday, February 27, 2007

dr. ecstasy

great article on alexander shulgin. excerpt:
It was an acquaintance of Shulgin's named Humphry Osmond, a British psychiatrist and researcher into the effects of mescaline and LSD, who coined the word ''psychedelic'' in the late 1950's for a class of drugs that significantly alter one's perception of reality. Derived from Greek, the term translates as ''mind manifesting'' and is preferred by those who believe in the curative power of such chemicals. Skeptics tend to call them hallucinogens.
Shulgin is in the former camp. There's a story he likes to tell about the past 100 years: ''At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only two psychedelic compounds known to Western science: cannabis and mescaline. A little over 50 years later -- with LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, TMA, several compounds based on DMT and various other isomers -- the number was up to almost 20. By 2000, there were well over 200. So you see, the growth is exponential.'' When I asked him whether that meant that by 2050 we'll be up to 2,000, he smiled and said, ''The way it's building up now, we may have well over that number.''
The point is clear enough: the continuing explosion in options for chemical mind-manifestation is as natural as the passage of time. But what Shulgin's narrative leaves out is the fact that most of this supposedly inexorable diversification took place in a lab in his backyard. For 40 years, working in plain sight of the law and publishing his results, Shulgin has been a one-man psychopharmacological research sector. (Timothy Leary called him one of the century's most important scientists.) By Shulgin's own count, he has created nearly 200 psychedelic compounds, among them stimulants, depressants, aphrodisiacs, ''empathogens,'' convulsants, drugs that alter hearing, drugs that slow one's sense of time, drugs that speed it up, drugs that trigger violent outbursts, drugs that deaden emotion -- in short, a veritable lexicon of tactile and emotional experience. And in 1976, Shulgin fished an obscure chemical called MDMA out of the depths of the chemical literature and introduced it to the wider world, where it came to be known as Ecstasy.
In the small subculture that truly believes in better living through chemistry, Shulgin's oeuvre has made him an icon and a hero: part pioneer, part holy man, part connoisseur. As his supporters point out, his work places him in an old, and in many cultures venerable, tradition. Whether it's West African iboga ceremonies or Navajo peyote rituals, 60's LSD culture or the age-old cultivation of cannabis nearly everywhere on the planet it can grow, the pursuit and celebration of chemically-induced alternate realms of consciousness goes back beyond the dawn of recorded history and has proved impossible to fully suppress. Shulgin sees nothing strange about devoting his life to it. What's strange to him is that so few others see fit to do the same thing.

Monday, February 26, 2007

suffering is caused by ignorance

as a buddhist monk my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all sentient beings who suffer. i believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. people inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction.
-his holiness the dalai lama, nobel peace prize acceptance speech, oslo, december 1989

Friday, February 23, 2007

quit drinking again...

...it's not for me.
a layman who has chosen to practice this dhamma should not indulge in the drinking of intoxicants. he should not drink them nor encourage others to do so, realizing that it leads to madness. through intoxication foolish people perform evil deeds and cause other heedless people to do likewise. he should avoid intoxication, this occasion for demerit, which stupefies the mind, and is the pleasure of foolish people.
-sutta nipata

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Panel encourages legalization of drugs

Panel encourages legalization of drugs
February 14, 2007
By Timothy Mensing
The Daily - University of Washington newspaper
Leading members from the King County community met last night in the HUB Auditorium to discuss what has been coined the "War on Drugs."
The discussion included socioeconomic and interpersonal effects of current U.S. drug policy.
Those present, other than interested students, included a lawyer, a former Seattle police chief and a Seattle city council member, the three making up the panel.
Students attended in pursuit of a better understanding of the subject, along with the hope that discussions like these would spur alternative paths to current U.S. drug policy.
"[The consequences] of the current state of things is simply not represented enough in the mainstream," said junior Anton Sirotin.
The panel focused on discussing these consequences and providing alternatives. All supported the legalization of drug use with regulation.
Several organizations, including Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), sponsored the event.
The first to speak was Norm Stamper. With a Ph.D. in leadership and human behavior, Stamper has 34 years of police experience, seven of which consisted of overseeing Seattle law enforcement as Seattle police chief.
His speech began by recalling the beginning of the War on Drugs, enacted and named by former President Richard Nixon.
This War on Drugs came to represent, moreover, "a war on people," without any clear victories to be had, Stamper said.
In a country with 5 percent of the world's population, 25 percent of those incarcerated in the world are housed in U.S. prisons, Stamper said.
Thirty five percent of those jailed are in on charges of drug possession. Along these lines, there are more illegal drugs at cheaper prices now than at any time in history, he said. In the last year, 1.7 million people were jailed on non-violent drug charges.
"What I choose to put in my body is my own decision," Stamper said. "It is only when that decision affects others in a negative way should there be legal intervention."
Larry Gossett, chair of the King County Council, expanded on this idea.
"A 17-year-old goes to jail on charges of possession for 16-21 months and comes out harder than the rock he sold," he said.
Although consisting of only 12 percent of the U.S. population, more than 50 percent of those in jail are African Americans. Of these, 40 percent are there on drug charges, he said.
Rachel Kurtz, deputy director of the King County Bar Association, offered alternatives to the current U.S. drug policy.
Rather than leave the contents of the drug unknown, legalized drugs would offer substance information, she said.
These drugs would share the same laws as alcohol, such as limiting purchasing power to those 21 years old and older.
All panel members supported the idea of diverting law enforcement funds into community programs, such as clinics dealing with addictions.
Audience members resonated Sirotin's sentiment about increasing awareness.
"More people need to hear about the issue," said senior Daren Keck.
Reach contributing writer Timothy Mensing at development@thedaily.washington.edu.

the true revolutionary

at the risk of sounding ridiculous i would say that the true revolutionary is guided by principles of love.
-che guevara

Friday, February 16, 2007

mae west

marriage is a fine institution, but i'm not ready for an institution.
i generally avoid temptation unless i can't resist it.
good sex is like good bridge... if you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.
-mae west