Smoking pot has long been a continental pastime in North America. A great portion of the population was getting high on pot even when it was illegal and somewhat difficult to procure. Now that it has been legalized to some degree, I imagine a greater portion of the population will indulge in weed on a consistent basis, which is all fine and well if you see no harm in a vast segment of the population being high regularly. I have no desire to wade into the “alcohol is worse than pot” debate or embroil myself in any individual rights arguments, but regardless of the substance, I do find it alarming that getting wasted has become an acceptable, perhaps even necessary, precondition for living in our modern world.
On the one hand, I see the legalization of cannabis as nothing more than an enterprising ploy to collect more taxes for national coffers as governments around the world scramble to get in on what is proving to be a formidable cash cow. On the other hand, I suspect governments in the West are using the liberalization of pot as another means through which to keep populations placated and docile. When I imagine Westerners smoking a good joint after a hard day’s work, I cannot help but think of Huxley’s soma in Brave New World. A few puffs and all problems dissolve. Everything is swell again and the world becomes a happy, peaceful place – at least until the following morning beyond which another hard day awaits.
Once again, I must stress that I am rather indifferent to the whole topic of drugs. My general view of drug use is disapproval, but I believe the choice to indulge or not indulge in drugs, or even alcohol for that matter, rests at the level of the individual. For example, I drink alcohol occasionally, but rarely to the point of total inebriation. Sure, my past is filled with its fair share of benders, but over the years, I have learned that getting sauced on a consistent basis is less than optimal and has profound negative effects on every aspect of life. In addition, I have seen my fair share of alcohol-related tragedy to recognize the danger embedded in booze. At the same time, I am somewhat perturbed by the casual belief that cannabis is essentially an innocuous drug. Perhaps it is if used infrequently it might be, but the chronic pot smokers I have known all displayed signs of weed’s adverse effects. Most prominent among these was a pronounced dulling of the mind.
Being high or inebriated alters consciousness, and perhaps there are times when an altered state of consciousness brought about by intoxication may feel good or put one in the right mood for celebration or relaxation, but I have never really understood the persistent need to alter the state of one’s consciousness through drugs or alcohol. To be sure, addiction comes into play, but in my mind, the constant desire to be drunk or high reveals something has gone terribly wrong at the spiritual level.
New streams of income aside, I suspect the Establishment is using the deregulation of banned substances as further means of population control. A “high” population is a docile and happy one, and docile, “happy” people is exactly what the Establishment is aiming for short-term. In the long-term, the Establishment is primarily interested in the destruction of souls. With increased legalized drugs, the Establishment can essentially kill two birds with one stone. It can help people cast themselves further into the pits of spiritual crisis while simultaneously and beneficently offering the populace a hedonistic means through which to escape the suffering and emptiness inherent in individual and national spiritual crises.
Stoned people are much easier to stone.