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March 28, 2013

The Drug War as an Indicator of Human "Progress"

One conclusion I’ve been driven to progressively in the course of my study of drug policy is that our species may represent a failed natural experiment in that we appear to have dug a hole for ourselves from which escape will predictably be very difficult and may have even become impossible.

The obvious culprit is our marvelous brain, which along with our centers of cognition, also harbors our emotional centers. We now think humans are cognitive mammals that evolved from a line of twenty or so primate species going back to the Miocene apes that first appeared about nine million years ago. Our most recent ancestors were Neanderthals, now extinct, with whom our most remote human ancestors shared the planet and may have exchanged genetic material (but the details are still uncertain).

Human written history began much more recently with the almost simultaneous appearance of literacy in several parts of he world. What is most extraordinary is that the various pioneers of literacy inhabited widely scattered parts of the planet and must have been unknown to each other when they first devised their very different writing systems.

From literacy, human cultural evolution, progressed to an ability to communicate complex ideas, which as the work of Noam Chomsky has convincingly demonstrated, required the integration of separate centers within the brain into a functional language organ.

Nevertheless, as the chaos and disagreements characteristic of our modern world so convincingly demonstrate, our advanced cognitive abilities, especially once they were amplified by the evolution of empirical science about five hundred years ago, seem to have been working against our best interests as a species, which according to Darwin, should be survival.

Rather than the means for survival, what science seems to have provided us with are enhanced tools for mutual destruction in the form of nuclear weapons, exploitation of the planet's finite resources, and the willingness to profit from deep-seated emotional differences between various groups of humans.

Considered within that context, overwhelming international support for a policy that both prohibits and punishes cultivation and use of a therapeutic agent that moderates the emotional differences between humans seems at least irrational, if not insane.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 28, 2013 05:27 PM