Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today's worldly wisdom - this too shall pass

I got a comment on my exchange of letters with Stutz Artiano suggesting that I ought to try drugging Stephen and see what happens. That's out of the question because the last thing he needs is to be drugged coercively. People used to think that was improper in Soviet psychiatric hospitals, and laws in California designed to protect people from such a fundamental violation of their persons show that the legislature thinks that applies here too. But the belief in drugs is a specifically American problem, why the US is the biggest consumer in the world of every kind of dope, as well as non-chemical dope like pornography, besides being the principal purveyor of pornography and tobacco to the world. I think this issue is worth addressing in a separate post.

I can think of instances where psychotropic drugs are the way to go, just as antibiotics are appropriate in certain cases. But both are grossly abused, with serious consequences both for individuals and society.

This is an extremely drug-oriented culture, the problem called by Paul the apostle "sorcery," in Greek "pharmakeia." It's a variation of living by the sword - who needs intelligence and careful analysis with patient listening, if you can dope somebody up or throw a few billion dollars or a cruise missile at the problem?

Over a long time, Stephen has demonstrated that he is inclined to be despondent and desperate in connection with school, and not otherwise. He needed to be assessed for his school phobia and any related learning problems, not hopped up so that they don't have to bother finding out about that. The assessment we have now gotten through West End SELPA has in fact turned up plenty worth looking at, and nothing that ought to be masked with dope.

Masking your problems with a bottle of booze, a joint, a line of cocaine, or a Wellbutrin prescription is all the same thing. Its character is not changed because someone with a degree prescribes it, who in Stephen's case couldn't be bothered to learn the history of head injuries that completely rules out Wellbutrin. Indeed Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, exactly like cocaine except for its seizure potential, which makes it hard to use like cocaine without becoming an epileptic for sure. In other words, to get exactly what you want from Wellbutrin without the risk of seizures and a lifetime of epilepsy, chew coca leaves!

We all easily perceive grave stupidity and wickedness being highly honored in the world at other times and places than our own - white supremacy in 1915 Mississippi, pouring hot oil on battle wounds in 16th century Europe, or bleeding George Washington to death for his bad cold. But we never seem able to smell the stink in the outhouse we happen to be sitting in, which those that follow us will find obvious.

Just as we should not bet on a horse that never wins, we should not put much confidence in worldly fashion that always proves in the end to be folly in some way that from within our world we could not perceive. We need to be skeptical and think things through, never allowing worldly authority and fashion to stand in for straight thinking. That's always stupidity, and so it must always lead to stupid results, with hideous consequences to real human beings.

When Paul wrote, "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind," and when Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free," this is what they were talking about. By being conformed to this world we will never know the truth and we will never be free. Looking around, the results are obvious.


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