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June 18, 2009

Darwin and Lincoln

The discovery, some time in ‘06 or ‘07, that both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln had been born on the same day in 1809 was very exciting for me. My own rejection of any sort of “divine” intervention in human affairs leads me to consider it a mere coincidence; even so, coincidence in this case becomes a convenient device for learning from the lives of two men who exerted such enormous, and generally benign influence on the lives so many others— indeed, on our modern world as we now know it.

Although born on separate continents into very different economic and social circumstances, the two shared a common language and both went on to become famous during their own lifetimes and to influence the lives of contemporaries and all posterity. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of how our modern world might now look had both not lived.

It’s also significant that both became objects of hatred during their lifetimes and that both the positive and negative emotions they inspired have continued growing unabated since their deaths.

What I now see both lives as demonstrating is the power of the human brain to interpret and respond to information in ways that have a unique and lasting impact on both the intellectual and physical environment. In a sense, any who survive to maturity also have an impact that outlives us, but, in most cases, to a far more modest degree, and in ways that, except for progeny, can’t be traced. Did their great fame and notoriety bring Darwin and Lincoln (henceforth, D & L) happiness? The answer seems to be no; in fact quite the opposite. What those of us who admire them can hope is that they each gained a measure of intellectual satisfaction and peace from their accomplishments.

Why am I switching styles so abruptly? It's because Inow accept that although the unlikely research project with pot smokers I've been blogging about for over three years has provided me with clinical information known to very few others, it's also information very few seem to want, and there's not a lot I've been able to do to change that.

Given both the size of the growing blog universe and the ease with which one can now upload text, its use as a publicly maintained personal journal has never been easier. Also, the efficiency with which web content can be searched means that whatever readers I do attract can always find me. Finally; the gamut of emotional responses that seem to be inspired by any discussions of cannabis, its users, and its phenomenal modern market is so bizarre I've decided to just say what I think rather than pretend that I'm writing for people with an honest interest who are looking for an intelligent discussion.

Another way of putting it is that perhaps the least likely subject upon which one can provoke an informed, intellectually honest discussion is pot. Although I know there are many bright, well educated people with a serious interest in all aspects of its use, public pronouncements about that use are most noteworthy for the incredible silliness of policy advocates and the reticence of others with an interest to discuss salient issues honestly.

Thus I've decided to simply present what I believe to be true based on an ongoing analysis of my clinical encounters with pot smokers and let the chips fall where they may.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 18, 2009 04:21 PM