You/Food/Exercise are the perfect drug

This is the first of a number of essays I’ve drafted out, but have left stagnating in my “to write” pile. They are distinctly without references, because I didn’t have the time to trawl for them, but I welcome critique and/or addendum from my readers.

Government’s seem to have a fascination with criminalising substances that change mental awareness, however there are so many things that do this, it’s strange that they intervene in some cases but not in others. Consistency and reliability are key components of trust, how does one trust a government with an erratic value system for experiencing our consciousness?

It’s been exclaimed in poetry and songs, love is a drug, a quintessential part of human experience. The euphoric highs when you meet someone special, planning how you might met with them again for a coffee in order to get another dose of those powerful attractants. Let alone all the other emotions which they themselves are based on a concoction of organic compounds. Being human, love is a strong attractor for the complex system of the human mind. If you get torn asunder from this attractor, it can feel like physical pain: severe withdrawal symptoms that can lead to anger, regret, and depression. In extreme cases murder (if other people are involved), and/or suicide. And yet the government allows it. This seemingly random experience that we cannot control – unlike substances that change our awareness, which we are free to control through our own will and determination in the universe (if you believe in free will of course, I chose to, even if I don’t really, because it’s leads to a much more effective life).

I certainly don’t mean to imply that love isn’t worth it, or it isn’t special or part of what makes being human worthwhile, but it, or sometimes the person you are in love with, can have all the psychological effects of a drug.

You are the perfect drug, the perfect drug, the perfect drug…
Nine Inch Nails – The Perfect Drug

A different slant: certain foods have short term addictive properties. I’m sure you know the ones I mean. The junk food that you have a small handful of, but it tastes so good you need more. If you don’t have the will power to resist, you end up eating a whole bag of crisps, a whole block of chocolate or whatever. You feel the worse for it afterwards, and the overload in high carbs and saturated fats is anything but good for you. Still, governments allow THAT too*.

One more example: exercise and sports. These give you an endorphin kick and can be addictive, although possibly to different personality types from those that get addicted to junk food (I’m not so sure though, since I’ve experienced both… long hours at the gym followed by binging on junk food, and what was I trying to hide from? See the first example). Gym aficionados – those that love the feeling after a decent workout and have been doing it for some time – will tell you how the feeling can lessen as you continue. So you lift more weights, you run further, you push your body to it’s limits again and again. Sure, this is how you can develop a stunning physique, but the fact is that you are constantly stressing your body. And the addictiveness can lead to you ignoring the feedback from your tired joints and muscles, overtraining and damaging them along with other connective tissue.

Despite all this, we ban things like MDMA/Ecstasy and LSD/Acid. Both have the potential to result in great good if used in therapeutic settings. In fact, they can result in great good in non-therapeutic settings too. SWIM** once felt deadened to life, depressed about a failed relationship, and generally wasn’t having that great a time, but a certain experience involving the previous substances led to SWIM developing a new outlook on life, become enthused about music and people, and excited about the future.

Why do people turn to these substances for recreational purposes? My guess is that the human psyche hasn’t evolved with the rapid expansion of culture and society. Our minds are still tribe based, some people more than others, and when we’re out in club, on a dance floor, or outdoors sharing pulsating rhythms with a throng of thousands we need something to let our guard down. Alcohol does this, but can also sway nastily into aggression. MDMA, by it’s very nature, causes connectedness and a loved up feeling – I’ve never heard of a fight instigated by someone on it (of course, feel free to point out if I’m wrong, but I suspect any counter-examples would be of less than pure substance which is a direct result of the lack of regulation that comes with criminalisation). Sure, you could say this loved-up togetherness is a negative thing and other people could take advantage of the implicit trust that someone rolling grants to others, but it depends on your outlook on the world. Do you choose to view the world as a positive or negative place? Different substances can draw you to these polar views, and one world view leads to a more easily controlled populace. Can you guess which it is?

* Many campaigns are being launched of late however to educate the public about healthy vs. unhealthy food and stem the tide of obesity and diabetes.
** Someone who isn’t me


#1   tatjna on 06.04.08 at 1:42 am

I’ve had similar thoughts – the health damage caused by people’s choice of recreational food is far more expensive to the country and society than that caused by MDMA or LSD (and numerous other substances).

A note – ‘they themselves’ is one of them thingies.. a tautology? Some fancy grammatical word anyway. Umm.. similar to ‘I myself’, it’s unnecessary and can be annoying if used repeatedly.

I like where this essay is going, and I reckon with a bit of beefing up with specifics (you know the drill), it’d be worth slarting about the place. I’d definitely publish it.

Like SWIM, SEWIME (someone else who isn’t me either) started eating, talking, smiling, and re-entering the world as a complete human being from the black hole of depression and withdrawal, after their first experience with MDMA. They not only discovered a life worth living while ‘under the influence’, but managed to keep that feeling of connectedness, completeness and rhythm with the world long after the serotonin was back in the synapses. I have heard many similar stories related to the use of MDMA, music and dance-as-therapy.

It’s possible for someone who is feeling loved-up to be very annoying with the hugs for folks that don’t want them, and someone who’s had too much alcohol is likely to escalate to violence quickly in such a situation. That’s the only way I could think of for someone on MDMA to ’cause’ violence.

La la la..

#2   Joel on 06.04.08 at 1:55 am

Thanks for the English pointer. It’s easy to get carried away with the flourishing language when I’m actually allowed to waffle on a bit. Science frowns heavily on anything but the bare minimal words necessary to convey a point – which leads to concise articles, but also incredibly dense and boring articles.

I agree about that potential “cause” of violence, but in that case, I consider the cause as the other person escalating it to that level. And they’d probably be under the influence of alcohol too, since “most people, normal people, will doing anything to avoid getting into a fight” (I love Fight Club).

Publish this? Don’t give me those ideas or I’ll get all perfectionist and these essays piling up will never see the light of day! 😉

#3   Andrew Brown on 06.16.08 at 5:08 pm

I totally agree

are you asking a question? I can’t quite tell but it seems to me like you’re asking why does the government do this?
Did I ever tell you about how I went to the debate with Jim Anderton about cannabis?

there’s lot of anecdotal evidence and proper information about how psychedelics can be used very therapeutically, I was personally surprised to find that the flow on effects of postive pschedelic experiences didn’t last as long as I thought they would have. but I still fully support a reform on the way society reacts inconsistantly

personally I think kids need to be educated about drugs at school; more like sex ed and less of anti-drug propaganda. because ultimately these drugs are illegal because people have had terrible and dangerous experiences on these drugs, because it’s not until people stop having bad experiences and reflecting them on the “cost of drugs to society” invoice, is anything going to change, unfortunately

#4   Zeren on 06.25.08 at 6:02 pm

You’re right. When two people love each other it is that no problem in the world can affect them and they don’t need anything else everything is complete and ok you ask them and they say isn’t it so so it’s wonderful.

#5   Love and Separation — ferrouswheel on 05.21.09 at 2:18 pm

[…] the past, I’ve written about the drug like effects of love. When I wrote that, it was from a retrospective viewpoint based on my prior experience but while […]

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