Many influential world figures have openly discussed their experiences with psychedelic substances such as LSD. Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World), Richard Feynman (Quantum mechanics Nobel prize winner), and Steve Jobs have used LSD and have expressed the positive impact it has had on their lives. During an interview, Steve Jobs remarked, “LSD reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money”. These credible figures’ view of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is very opposite to that of the general public and federal government.
These brilliant minds all believed LSD had an extraordinary impact on their professional careers and personal lives. However, why would these intelligent world leaders advocate the consumption of a Schedule I drug? The FDA considers substances in this class to be more dangerous than Schedule II drugs such as Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Fentanyl. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970, signed into law by Richard Nixon, created five classes for controlled substances. Drugs are categorized based on their potential for abuse, accepted medical uses, and the likelihood of dependence to the substance.
Schedule I substances, the most dangerous class of controlled substances, have a very high potential for abuse, no accepted medical applications, and a lack of safety under medical supervision. LSD is one of the drugs listed as a Schedule I substance, but the modern scientific understanding of Lysergic acid diethylamide may support the declassification of the drug.
A ‘high potential for abuse’ implies that LSD has a highly addictive nature. When discussing drug dependencies, it is important to acknowledge that physical addictions are very different than psychological addictions. Physical addictions are generally considered more dangerous because the drug “...changes your brain’s production of or response to neurotransmitters like dopamine...”, according to the American Addiction center. For this reason, addictions that develop from physical dependencies are much harder to shake than psychological addictions. According to Addiction Center website, “LSD is a non-addictive substance [but] people can become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience”. The LSD experience itself can be psychologically addictive, probably because of the supposedly profound and impactful nature of the experience. In contrast, alcohol is considered an addictive substance, which means it has a physically dependent nature. In fact, most people know someone that suffers from alcoholism and it is considered a serious but common problem. A legal substance is more addictive than a Schedule I drug. This current classification is strikingly alarming.
It is widely agreed that pure Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) cannot cause fatal overdoses. Reported deaths using the drug result from the users actions while LSD is in their system, not the physiological effects of the drug itself. Alcohol may be the most abused psychoactive substance in the world but, in contrast, often results in fatal overdose. Despite the evident danger of alcohol, millions of people abuse it regularly and the federal government has not listed it as a controlled substance. LSD is in the most controlled class of drugs yet its physiological harm to the user is negligible when compared with alcohol.
It is staggering that such inconsistencies are so easily found within the federal drug classification system. It should make us all question how things have gotten to this point. Maybe the influential advocates of LSD such as Steve Jobs had merit for their support of the drug. In the next article, a closer look at the origins of federal drug policies in America will shine more light on some reasons for these worrisome inconsistencies.
The most paramount of such questions is to first implement a standard: what is the purpose of government? Judgments of “good” or “bad” government can only exist if we have grounds for what is “good” or “bad”. At the very base level, what seems to be universally recognized is the notion that we are free beings and should be treated as such. Therefore, a government’s role is to ensure these individual freedoms and offer protection against the infringement of them. The rationale for anti-discrimination laws and punishments for murder derive from this simple recognition: that no individual is to have their rights to freedom removed from their being. With this, the government’s role is to ensure that an individual’s rights are to be protected to have self-autonomy, so as long as they are not acting in ways that endanger others’ rights (ex: murder, discrimmination). With this, we are able to form a basis for how to view governments. This standard is not only near-universal, but psychologically backed. Studies have shown that our assessments of how government should act is a credible and desirable one. The more freedom an individual has, the happier and more meaningful they will feel. This is commonsensical, as any would agree that the ability to control their own life leads to a greater purpose, meaning, and happiness. Therefore, what proves clear is that our government should exist to ensure freedom and protect it. Those on the left find themselves agreeing to this belief system as well, as their animosity towards U.S. imperialism and economic tyranny both stem from the inability of oppressed people to choose the way they want to conduct their lives and express autonomy over self.
History makes conspicuous how oppressed civilizations have sought the manifestation for individual freedoms in their very own societies. In Russia and China alike, rebellion was catalyzed from a desire to eradicate the oppression that had hindered their ability to act as free individuals. As cited by early Communists, civilians identified the existence of oppression as a result of unjust economic models that placed power in the hands of the few, and exploited the workers of the many. In other words, tyrannical structures removed the opportunity for millions to exercise the individual freedoms they so wished to possess. What followed was not a failure to seek a desirable goal, but a failure to understand how to achieve a desirable goal. Communism was simply put, a failed philosophical experiment. The minds of Communism recognized the evil and oppression prevalent in their societies and begged the question, why does this exist and how do we abolish it? The answer they arrived at, despite their noble attempts, was detrimental.
The leaders of these thinkers attributed oppression in society to the evil possessed by those in economic power. Therefore, in order to remove this evil, those in power had to be removed. The belief system was simple: oppression and evil will be eliminated if the oppressors are killed. This philosophy catalyzed two of the most heinous and horrid histories of modern humanity.
Since the development of these governments, both countries have seen catastrophic events occur in their respective territories. Historians estimate that Stalin’s rule led to the death of at least 20 to 60 million, while Mao’s reign led to the deaths of around 45 million. What seems blatantly obvious, is that the original revolutionaries goals of freedom, were not achieved. How could one be free to live if they are not able to live? The question to ask, is how did individuals with intents of freedom and a better life, produce an outcome antithesis to their objective?
In both cases, a congruent motivation and philosophy led to similar results. Throughout the 19th and early into the 20th century, China and Russia alike were overcome by oppression by the minority against the majority. Yet, in both countries, the majority pushed back, desiring to escape oppression for pursuits of their own freedom. Yet, a century later, it seems that the intended objective of the majority, is more lost now than before. But why?
The reason for such calamity and failure is not an issue of desire, but of philosophy. Both countries suffered from similar oppressive structures, in which the majority eventually pushed back against. Their shortcoming to upend such tyranny, derived from an inability to identify where the roots of it originate from. The ideology of communism failed to recognize universal desire for power and greed found in all of us, not just some of us. Instead, this logic pointed to the belief that certain negative traits, like greed and desire for power, existed only as a result of predisposed traits, genetic linkages. Essentially, because the opportunity for mobility was uncommon in these societies, the option to see otherwise was not offered. Thinkers of this time saw the existence of evil and oppression, but found their origin only in the powerful. Therefore, from this analysis, they attributed the rich or powerful to be the sources of evil, found in only them alone. In other words, the capacity for evil and oppression was not found in all beings, but only in the powerful, because they were the only individuals engaging in such behavior. In retrospect, it seems egregious to believe such logic was true, that only certain individuals were predisposed to wrongful behaviors simply from their economic or political conditions. However, such logic does not seem so far fetched, when the existence of oppression occurs only at the hands of the rich. Therefore, if their logic was correct, the action of killing the rich to end oppression and evil would be correct, if not more, noble. However, the necessary information to recognize, is that their logic, was far from correct.
The ultimate failure of communism spawns from an inability to recognize the universality of human nature. Instead, they possessed the belief that man’s desires differed by matters of hierarchy; if you’re rich and powerful, you are oppressive. Yet, this belief has proven to be irrational and incorrect through the evidence history has shown us. Stalin and Mao were not rich, but they came to become the most oppressive and ruthless of them all. After the communists killed, deported and imprisoned the so called “evil members of society”, the presence of evil did not subside within their countries. The truth that one need arrive at, is that it isn’t the rich who have the potential for evil or a certain type of individual, rather it is the potential of all of us.
With this, we are able to come back to our original question: how does a government ensure that freedoms are maintained for all individuals? What the communist misdiagnosed is a miscalculation we must not never forget. From their mistakes, we are able to learn something vital about us. It is not the rich that or bad or the traditionalists, it is the individual who has the ability to be, which is all of us. The communist were correct in their recognition of the evil of their rulers, but they failed to attribute the reason for why they were. They weren’t oppressive because they were rich, they were oppressive because they had the power to be. It is for this reason that Stalin and Mao were evil, because they had the power to be. The truth we are to take from this is of utmost importance. If our society is to achieve a society of freedom, of fairness, of morality, we must not allow for power to be unchecked. While the original communists did not recognize the universality of man, we now do. This case is not true in only Stalin and Mao, but in any monopoly and unrestrained institution. Businesses unmonitored commit fraud, unaccounted leaders cheat, and unregulated governments commit horrendous crime. Let the history of communism be an example; the potential for oppression will lead to reality of oppression. What we must do in our institutions going forward, is embrace this axiom. In the absence of regulation, the opportunity for freedom will be lost to us all.
As our technology has progressed since the turn of the century, we have witnessed evolving methods of interaction with external devices. Take your iPhone for example; we can control the phone using the touch of a finger on its screen, followed by voice control, and most recently, touch ID and facial recognition. It may seem that companies such as Apple have exhausted their options for device interaction. However, new technology may allow an entirely new mode of transmitting a device command to your iPhone, or to any external device for that matter.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are fully functional systems that translate an unspoken thought into a device command. These systems have become a very fascinating field opening endless possibilities for new innovative technology. Implementing this technology to solve real-world problems will have an unprecedented impact on medical device development, neural mapping technology, neuroprosthetics, and countless other developing innovations. BCI systems will have such a powerful influence on the world in many positive ways, but this technology has the potential to create monstrous world problems as well.
For example, Facebook Technologies has been working to develop a brain-computer interface that allows the user to send a text message by using nothing more than a thought. They are developing this technology to address the serious problem of texting while driving. Although this tech could provide a legitimate solution to this deadly problem, there are many implications for granting a phone company access to the direct information stream between the device and the user’s mind. Facebook’s track record has given the company prominent notoriety when it comes to privacy breaches. The fact that they are developing their own BCI’s capable of thought-texting is a very alarming concept. Imagine a future where thoughts and ideas have the potential to be monitored and stored without the consent of the user; this would be the most personal invasion of privacy.
In future submissions, we will look at some different applications of brain-computer interfaces and consider the concerns that should also be considered.
Make your bed and wash your feet
Study hard and never retreat
For the joys of life happen only if you succeed
So you do your best and you ace your test, sacrificing your friends out there in the street
But you wonder why you must oblige to the tales of the American Dream
School isn’t fun but it’s the money sure to come that’ll make you happy and glad to read
Yet you’re tired now with joy no safe and sound yet its worth the life that will be
So you move on strong to the place you belong to make it worth your attempts to compete
So you did and carried on, to the top of all the strong and will be arriving soon to victory
Now your pockets they are long and that house that is your home has the neighbors looking with envy
But you still wait for that pain that waits and remains, to dissipate yet you can run from what you can’t see
Now you did what you were after but it’s less than the latter, why are you hungry for more to be?
Oh but you’re wrong, that’s the matter, you’re not focused on your after, see you’re looking in the wrong periphery
So you settle on down, find a girl, married now, start a family, now the joy is soon to be
But the kids are growing now and it’s your chance to show them how to be happy in life and see
So you say kids come around and let me tell you what it’s about, you see it’s important to try and succeed
Yet you speak but lost in sound, for your eyes are distracted now for your sight has gone on retreat
The kids are chasing loud, playing games with no frowns, with joy tangible there in their teeth
But you listen to that sound from your voice speaking now to your children awaiting patiently
You see happiness doesn’t fool it’s not to a road you’re going to, it’s just your friends laughing their in the streets
Sit in Church and look around during worship. Listen to the lyrics; the songs all congruent in thematic expression. Every verse indicating the universal characteristics of theology, rooted in traits of mercy and grace of a forgiving God. This is where the true beauty is to derive from in faith, a God that is accepting of an unacceptable creation. All good things spawn from this notion, from the ubiquitous phrase heard around all Christian circles: “God didn’t have to save us, but he did anyway.” How powerful and beautiful it is to know that the God of all creation, loved each and every one of us so much that He saved us to be One with Him again. It’s clear now why these Christians are so joyous, so overcome with love; because despite their brokenness, God loved them anyway. Despite their inadequacy, God cared for them anyway. Despite their sinfulness, God saved them anyway. But see, the tenants of salvation, mercy, and grace, depend on a broken creation. If man had not fallen, we would not need a Savior to save us. If man was not sinful, we wouldn’t need grace, forgiveness and mercy. Without sin and a sinful creation, we wouldn’t need to be saved, and all that would remain is a Creation connected to God. While this reality seems better, it clearly is one not to be dealt with, because it simply is not one that exists. All that can arrive from dwelling on this idea is an acrimonious dissent for our original ancestors, Adam and Eve. For if they had not sinned, we would be in harmony and connected with the Creator who beautifully made us. However, because they made the decision against God, they lost this opportunity and were separated away from the perfect Creator who made them. But how blessed we are to have a God of mercy and grace, who if acting justly, would have made any relationship with the Perfect Father impossible. This is because God is just and perfectly good, and since Adam and Eve turned against God and acted in a way that was not good, God could not maintain a connected relationship to badness. It seemed that because of God’s goodness, He never would be able to fully connect with His creation, since it was bad and sinful. Yet, because God is merciful, He sent His son down to bear the weight of our sins, and conquered them to allow reconnection with God when He was crucified and resurrected. Because Jesus’s sacrifice, we are now able to live reconnected lives with God and ultimately live in His presence for eternity like God had originally intended before Man’s Fall. However, Jesus’s sacrifice has not fully redeemed every repercussion of Adam and Eve’s sin. We still have to battle sinful desires, live with suffering and pain, and fight our flesh because of our sinful nature and original sin within us. When we recall back on this story of Christianity, we naturally draw a few conclusions: God’s plan was to live in harmony and love with His creation, but man turned against Him and wanted to go down His own path, while we should live in disconnection from God, God is merciful and sent his Son down to offer us the chance to be reconnected to Him again. It all is clear, Man fell and screwed everything up, yet, we have been blessed with a merciful God that has given us another chance to be reconnected with Him. This version of Christianity makes sense and has sufficed as an explanation for its continued existence. But, what has not been explained is the most important question in Christianity: why did man fall in the first place?
Defenders of Christianity have survived theologically by providing the rationale of the fall as an axiom, posing it to be clear and well known. The common, average believers’ response to such a question is as follows: “because Eve fell”, or “Because she had free will and chose the wrong decision.” This is typically as deep an explanation for the fall as we get. However, this defense is an egregiously inadequate explanation for Eve’s fall, especially when factoring in the nature of monotheism. For centuries, the defense of Eve making the wrong free will decision has stood its ground. However, what it fails to do is explain why that free-will decision was made. What must be understood, is that decision making is not random, it is always motivated by something else, something deeper. An individual may make the free-will decision to drink water, but that decision to drink is caused because of a desire to quench thirst, which one did not free willingly create as a desire. Therefore, what must be explored is the question: why did Eve make the free-will decision to turn against God and separate herself from Him. The first recognition to be made is the notion that God is the sole and only Creator, therefore anything within Creation exists because of Him. If we are to deny this, then we are to be arguing for polytheism, offering that other deities must exist that have the ability to create. But most defenders of Christianity would never argue such a thing, and therefore are stuck with the belief that God is the only Creator. However, the predicament comes to fruition once we have acknowledged that sin was a creation, and if God is the only Creator, then He must have created it. What most fail to realize when they blame Eve for sin, is the recognition that she did not create herself. For example, Eve clearly could not distinguish the lie from the truth, and was conspicuously ambitious for independence as opposed to obedience to God. While this is evidently true, what is not offered is an explanation for why this is true. If Eve did not make herself, then she is not to blame for how she is wired. As monotheism offers, God is the only one granted the autonomy to craft and design creation. If Eve had a heart of rebellion and an inability to discern truth from myth, it could not be the fault of her own but the fault of her programmer. Therefore, Eve’s natural desire to make the free-will decision against God and towards sin, can only have occurred because God wired her that way. If we are to deny this, then we are to deny monotheism; because if it wasn’t God that created Eve this way, then who was it? The only conclusion we can come to under monotheism, is that God created sin by creating Eve’s brain to turn against God and towards herself. Many modern scholars have made this theologically sound conclusion: that God is the creator of sin and manifested its existence through Eve. While in academic circles this idea circulates in the mainstream, it still is ignorant to the masses of modern-day Christianity. Shockingly, most Christians cannot articulate a defense for the fall and bare no understanding for the most integral necessity for salvation. These believers do not know why they follow, and fail to offer a defense for why Jesus is required in the first place. However, the academic viewpoint, while honest, still faces detrimental repercussions of its own.
The only defense for why God might allow sin and evil, is because it is needed to bring about a greater good. For example, most apologists argue two central claims, that sin was required for love and for his love to be beautiful. These defenders offer the case that without the option to turn away from God’s love, it would not be real or as beautiful. Therefore in order to make it real and beautiful, God needed to create sin. However, this defense is wholly inadequate and causes many theological problems. For one, the ascribed notion is that free will makes love real, and without the option to choose to love, it wouldn’t actually be love. Therefore, sin is required to make love real. Yet, this argument in itself undermines the power of God’s love. God is the definition of love, and therefore is the only source that can provide it. God does not need the opposite of love or choice to love to make love real. If this was the case, then our idea of Heaven must be radically incorrect. In Heaven, we are to believe love is as deep as it can be. This love isn’t deep because we know the opposite of love, it is deep because the opposite does not exist. Heaven is absent of sin and flesh and is simply only the soul and love of God. If God doesn’t need sin to make his love real in Heaven, why would it be needed on Earth? Clearly, the explanation for sin as a needed good for love is insufficient and does not serve as a required variable to experience God’s perfect love.
These asserted truths seem quite dismantling to faith, to say the least. When we view Christianity through Monotheism, we see the facts we are forced to reconcile with, and where they will lead us. Ultimately, this recognition has monumental impacts on Christianity, and how we view salvation, grace, and mercy. So where are we to arrive now?
You are back in the pews now as your heart cries out in worship to Jesus Christ, Your Savior. Just like every other Sunday, you praise Him for His mercies and His willingness to forgive a creature as broken as you are. But, now you go deeper, finally realizing the reason for your brokenness. The story no longer is the tale of a fallen creation saved by a merciful God. No, Christianity in terms of monotheism tells us a narrative much different than that. The reason for your brokenness is not your fault or even the fault of your first ancestors. The reason for your brokenness, is because that’s how your Creator designed you to be. He designed you empty and sinful, so that you would need a Savior. With this recognition the story of Christianity changes. No longer is a merciful and gracious God forgiving you for your brokenness; but rather a God cleaning up the mess that only He could have created. Where is the beauty and mercy in that?