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Cognitive Liberty UK

No drug that has been made illegal in the UK has EVER been decriminalised. Consequently, a massive part of the fight to maintain cognitive liberty is preventing new chemicals being added to the list of controlled substances.

Legal highs currently include a whole range of wonderful entheogens, alongside this is an ever-expanding range of new chemicals allowing experiences that previous generation simply had no access to. In many ways, this is a golden age: any psychonaut can order shamanic herbs, witch potions, or the latest scientific breakthroughs from the four corners of the earth with a view to exploring and expanding their mind.

In 2010 we saw mephedrone get banned, we can blame the government and the media, but in truth it was the then-users of mephedrone who share much of the responsibility. This article discusses what we can do to stop currently legal drugs being made illegal.

1) Keep it on the…

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Cognitive Liberty UK

1. Consumerism depends on discontent. If you were content, you wouldn’t feel the need to buy all the pointless stuff on offer: if every one was content the system would break. Adverts are designed to produce discontentment, simple as that. All forms of true spirituality work towards contentment and therefore pose a threat to consumerism and the capitalist system. The myriad forms of spirituality all warn against selfishness, greed, envy and desire: spirituality and consumer-capitalism are thus diametrically opposed.

2. Psychedelics can cause spiritual insights about the nature of the self and the illusory nature of the “material” world. They are known to bring about states of ego-death, i.e. self-less-nes, the same goal of many of the major religious and mystical traditions. The endless pursuit of consumer-capitalist goals, with all the greed and selfishness that is entailed by that pursuit, is challenged by the insights provided by psychedelics. Psychedelics can…

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Cognitive Liberty UK

It’s a class-A drug with some of the lowest risks/harms when compared to other drugs. It’s a class-A drug which therapists want to use to treat alcoholism, opiate-addiction and depression. Research has indicated again and again that it can be of great help to those dealing with the fear and anxiety of terminal illnesses. It’s most well-known effects are to encourage feelings of unity and love in relation to fellow man, to encourage religiosity and spirituality.

When we look at the motives people have for taking LSD, it should seem obvious that imprisoning them is a perversion of justice. People take LSD for spiritual revelation and healing, to bring about positive transformation in their lives. Whether or not this is a sensible approach to reaching those goals is an open question: but it should be clear that they have committed no moral wrong.

We are taking mystics and locking them up…

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Cognitive Liberty UK

Where the placebo effect refers to a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition that results from a simulated medical intervention, the nocebo effect refers to the opposite.

The nocebo effect shows us that, even when no real drug or cause for harm is present, negative beliefs and expectations can lead to negative physiological, behavioural, emotional, and/or cognitive consequences. It demonstrates the very real effects of conditioning and negative suggestions.

The general consensus amongst clinical psychologists is that psychedelic drugs can cause damage when the user undergoes an extremely emotionally negative or traumatic experience as a result of them.

The purpose of this article is to suggest that the dominant discourses around psychedelics in the both drugs education and the mass-media condition individuals to have negative experiences whilst using them where they otherwise might not.

Both the mass media and the prevailing approaches to drugs education emphasise the risks of using the substances…

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censorship censored government logo icon sign state movie film book drugs policy prohibition

“A government that is permitted to set punishments for drug ‘offences’ in which a person has done nothing more than grow, manufacture, distribute, or use, the psychoactive agents which have been denoted as “controlled substances,” participates in an even more pernicious form of censorship – a censorship of consciousness itself – by choosing to punish people for no other crime than choosing to experience or enable particular states of mind.”

–  Richard Glen Boire

What is censorship? Censorship is any attempt to control the circulation of ideas or information within a given society. Given that psychedelic drugs can manipulate psychological states, and some of these states have a propensity to cause people to “learn valuable lessons” and “gain meaningful insights”, some drugs can be understood as ‘information communicators’ in themselves.

If this holds, then it must follow that any attempt to control such compounds is a form of censorship. Whether or not censorship is the primary aim is an open question, but in the case of LSD there are clear indications (see here) that the early attempts at controlling the substance were motivated by the desire to control certain political dynamics that were emerging (in part, because of LSD?) in America at the time.

Whatever LSD showed people, it seemed to encourage “dropping out” on some fundamental level from the mainstream of society. Many of the clichés of the hippy movement signify fundamental value changes: “free love”, “peace”, “going with the flow” etc. I have heard it said that when LSD was tested on soldiers, the thing that worried the army superiors the most was that the subjects didn’t want to go and kill people any more.

In this day and age we are quite wary of censorship, whatever its form, and whether or not it is merely tacit. Censorship is an explicit attempt to control the minds and actions of a population, it is the invisible propaganda. As Boire says, the war on drugs is “the censorship of consciousness itself”, or, in plain speaking, mind-control.

Censorship is seen by most of us as inherently sinister: paternalistic at “best”. When we look at governments of decades past and their attempts at film and book censorship they always seem so quaint and puritanical, and we should note that any attempt at censorship usually caused an increase of exposure to whatever book or film it was.

When a book or a film is censored it is, in its simplest terms, a censorship of certain experiences. Are psychedelic drugs different?

Cognitive Liberty UK

Drug laws attempt to control what you can do with your mind and what experiences you are allowed access to. Drug laws are, quite literally, attempts at mind control.

Cognitive libery is much more than freedom of thought. To believe in cognitive liberty is to believe that the individual is absolute sovereign over their own consciousness. It is an extension of the concepts of freedom of thought and self-ownership. It is a reaction against the prevailing assumption that other people have the right to tell you what you can do with your mind and body in situations that carry only a personal-risk.

Terence McKenna writes:

“We’re playing with half a deck as long as we tolerate that the cardinals of government and science should dictate where human curiosity can legitimately send its attention and where it can not. It’s a preposterous situation. It is essentially a civil rights issue…

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