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April 24, 2011

Follies Based on Invalid Theories

Theories are general concepts used by modern humans to organize various series of facts or observations into a coherent narrative. They are neither intrinsically “true” nor “false,” but probably best thought of as either valid (leading in a helpful direction) or invalid (useless at best, dangerously misleading at worst). What our recent experience with the Axis Powers in World War Two drives home is that invalid theories can mislead entire nations into destructive behaviors able to threaten the welfare of all humans. Ironically, the Cold War that followed World War Two almost immediately became an even greater threat because of the nuclear weaponry developed by (some of) the Allies to shorten the war.

Even more more dangerous, now that we've had at least a reprieve from Nuclear Winter, is the belief that the successful outcomes for “Democracy” in both wars were somehow a result of Divine intervention in favor of a loosely defined political system. In any event, that notion has been actively resisted for over a decade by another heterogeneous supranational alliance based loosely on similarly unlikely religious beliefs. In fact, one of several cautionary revelations of our recent “world” wars and the current “War on Terror” is that people deeply committed to such unfounded beliefs are easily led to commit both suicide and murder to further them.

In that setting, it should not surprise us that we humans, who have also contrived to quadruple our numbers in a little more than one hundred years, may be experiencing- individually and collectively- more species-induced psychological stress than at any time in our short separate existence; also that we are impelled in that direction by intensely competitive mammalian instincts left over from our biological heritage and first pointed out by Darwin, in a disputed theory that, despite its great utility, is probably either denied by, or unknown to, the majority of living humans.

To place these seemingly random observations into perspective, the best scientific evidence is that humans only came into separate existence as a species about two hundred thousand years ago in a universe now considered by Science to be around thirteen and a half billion years old on a comparatively insignificant planet that has only been around for about 4.5 billion years and upon which complex multi-cellular life forms didn’t appear until about five hundred and seventy million years ago.

In other words, the best available evidence, most of which was only uncovered after we developed spoken and written language (essential forerunners of scientific thought) is that our intrinsic insecurity and consequent desire to “control” our environment may be responsible for our current folly.

Thus our amazing cognitive abilities, under the influence of our (even more) powerful emotions, may have seduced us into the headlong pursuit of “control” that now threatens us in so many ways that our powerful need to deny painful reality makes us loathe to even consider.

As has become increasingly apparent through my experience with thousands of the Americans seeking to avoid irrational punishment for their use of a safe and useful (but illegal) “drug of abuse” is that our drug policy is simply one more example of a dangerous human folly based on an invalid theory.

It gets worse: “Addiction” theory is even less coherent than the myths of Bushido, Aryan Supremacy, and Fascist doctrine (best articulated by Mussolini that gave rise to World War Two. or the vague Dialectic of History that sustained International Communism throughout the Cold War.

Can we see through the folly of "Addiction Theory" in time to save ourselves?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 24, 2011 05:37 PM