Sep 13 2011
The greatest discovery of modern pharmacology is not a single drug, or even a vaccine, or even a miracle cure to some wretched disease. Rather, the greatest discovery is the validation of the theory that all human sensation is mediated by chemicals. Chemicals make us feel pleasure, pain, fear, joy, despair, or completely numb. Every thought, action, emotion, or even seeing the color red is mediated a chemical. Our body makes these chemicals naturally, and they can be mimicked or switched on or off by other chemicals. When sensations propagate through the brain they move through neural networks in pulses of chemical packets. When we get a thorn in our finger we don’t feel the thorn, we feel chemicals hitting neurons. And if we take the right drugs to block those chemicals, we don’t feel the thorn at all, we feel nothing. Drugs can reverse any unwanted human sensation. If you’re sad you can take a drug and feel happy. If you’re in pain you can take a drug and feel no pain. If you’re sleepy you can take a drug to feel awake. If you’re anxious you can take a drug to make you relax. If you’re angry and feel despair you can take a drug to make you feel like the king of the world. Pop a pill and change your life. It is just that easy.
Taking drugs is so easy, taking drugs is easier than eating. If you are hungry you can take a drug and feel no hunger. Food becomes a secondary option once you can control every mood with drugs. If you’re feeling malnourished and need to eat, go stuff yourself at the all-you-can eat buffet until you can’t eat another bite and want to puke. Don’t worry about the quality of the food, just eat a variety of everything and take some multivitamins. If you get heartburn you can take a drug to make it go away. If you eat way too much you can take a drug to vomit or shit your guts out at high velocity. No health decision is permanent if you can immediately reverse any drug or food choice with another drug. And if you feel like your system is full of too many drugs, then you can take a drug to clean your blood, drink plenty of clean water to recycle your system, and when you’ve purged your fluids and had a few good REM cycles, you can wake up and smell the fresh-ground coffee, and do it all over again.
If you are a normal human living in the modern world, my advice that you should do more drugs may rub you the wrong way, it may even make you angry. Public morality tells us drugs are bad because they destroy lives. But if drugs can save lives then drugs are good and you should take more. Everybody knows that too many drugs are bad for you, but pharmaceutical companies want you to know — and I’m not making this up — that the appropriate amount of drugs is fucking huge. And the appropriate amount — and I’m not making this up — is several pills and chemicals many times a day for the rest of your life. If you think I am joking please ask you doctor for more details.
Everybody is on drugs, from caffeine and aspirin to pot and nicotine and THC and Prozax and Xanax and opium and Oxycontin and encyclopedias of chemicals dedicated to improving human lives. Even if you don’t like drugs, there’s a drug for you; a drug that will make your life better; a drug that will make you a better person. Everybody is on drugs because doing drugs is definitely better than feeling lousy your whole life and then dying a painful early death. If drugs can mitigate even one percent of the human condition then people will take them like oxygen. It is simple math. And even if you are drug free and proud, when you are dying of a chronic illness or are in chronic pain, you won’t seek comfort in religion, you won’t pray for a miracle, you won’t turn to friends and family for support. No, when the chips are down,you will forget about faith and family and seek help by finding the right mix of drugs to fix it and make it better. There is no shame in taking drugs to fix your problems. This is a myth invented by assholes to make you feel bad for being a proactive problem solver. Assholes will never give you anything but shame, but drugs will never let you down. Just be sure to take more of them when you have problems. Problem solved.
I will admit that drugs can cause their own problems, many problems. But the main problem is that drugs cost money, and the best drugs are illegal, and even legal drugs are more expensive than food. This causes financial problems, supply problems, and problems for suffering people who want drugs not being able to get them.. which is a big fucking problem. Drug supply problems cause social and political problems. Modern governments have long standing arguments over every facet of drug supply and distribution and they grandstand about which feel-good drugs should be illegal and which life-saving drugs should made available to which people at what price depending on their health insurance and where they live. But all of the politics are bullshit when you just want cheap drugs to make your miserable, lonely, disease-ridden life a tiny bit more bearable. Most people will take any drug to make them feel better. They don’t care where it comes from. The biggest problem with the best drugs is that you need to go through some politician, bureaucrat, or doctor who decides whether or not you are worthy enough to deserve them. And how does that make you feel? If you are not pissed, then you must have bypassed the gatekeepers and have already found a way to get those drugs yourself. Congratulations, you may skip being pissed off and resume feeling awesome.
But imagine if drugs were totally free, and taking them made you feel awesome and live longer, and it was socially responsible to feel awesome and live a long productive life. And I’m not talking about an Orwellian reference to Soma, I’m talking about a variety of really ingenious drugs that made you love and create and grow and bond and nurture the people around you to build a place where humans felt no anxiety or shame for being born imperfect. Would you take your free awesome longevity drugs to become the perfect you? Of course you would! Or maybe you wouldn’t. If you value feeling shitty and dying a painful early death than you are pissing away the most sacred of our cultural priorities, which are being happy and living a long productive life. If you reject these principles you are probably an angry outcast and a loner, the kind of person who might gun down a playground full of children just to get someone to pity your black and empty heart for five seconds. Does that sound like you? If so then get with the program loser! Put down the hate and do more drugs!
Don’t get me wrong. Drugs are not the answer to all of life’s problems, just most of life’s problems. You should still exercise and eat and take your vitamins. You need to keep your cardiovascular system in good shape because you’ll need it to pump all those awesome drugs through your body. You also need to be selective about the drugs you take, and make sure they’re clean and won’t ruin your kidneys or liver or bladder or degrade the functioning of your brain. And you need to consider the dose of your drugs, and practice moderation when the positive drug effects wear off and negative drug effects become problematic. Keeping track of all the important things in this paragraph takes discipline and focus, and if you lack discipline and focus there are drugs to fix that. And if you’re unlucky enough to get addicted to certain drugs, there are drugs to fix that too.
And if you think this article is satire, or bullshit, or whatever, I can honestly say it doesn’t matter what you think. I promise you, in your lifetime, you will totally take more drugs. You can’t help yourself. You will take your drugs like a good human, and when you do you can silently thank me for reminding you to feel proud for being among the drug enabled. You could choose to be sick or depressed or angry or unfulfilled, or you can take more drugs. Drugs will always help, they are pretty reliable that way. You should totally take more of them. You should definitely remember to do that.
James L. Kent is the author of Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason.