Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Call for Reason

The media coverage of events in America this last week were constant and changing. It struck me coincidental that two events, separated by fifty years , within a few miles occurred so close. First,  trying to  understand the motivation of these two misguided young men who, after benefiting from all that America offers its citizens, used the stage of American media to act out their nefarious and cowardly schemes, which, perhaps in their mind, were justified.
Second, a few miles away, a half century before,  Harvard, administrators stopped the study of  new chemicals first discovered by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, that suggested new areas for  research about human consciousness. Like an earlier Pope, when  Galileo suggested a new reality, the university shut the research down. No telescope, or new fangled idea that drugs could reveal the next stage of understanding,  was going to upset the accepted view of symbolic reality.   

The research suggested that  consciousness was chemical, and that certain molecules seemed to open up areas of human understanding research had  never considered before. These research scientist's; Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Ralph Metzner, Walter Phanke,  (a graduate student), tried to determine the possible therapeutic applications, and other benefits and understanding of the effect of these psychoactive drugs on the brain, consciousness, and our understanding of the human condition.. When these experiments got too popular with the student body, administrators closed the program down.  

When Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in 1970, all research of these new brain chemicals was definitely concluded, these drugs were  set as Schedule I, no purpose or utility, , even for research.

Only now, in 2013,  is research slowly  beginning again. The earlier experiments, although anecdotal,  indicated many areas where these type of drugs could be therapeutic,  and helpful in understanding consciousness in our latest incarnation as the best answer for survival by the DNA

As we attempt to understand the minds of the surviving terrorist, we should lift any remaining  hurdles that stops scientific research into such molecules that could lead us to a better understanding of  human behavior.

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