top of page

Edition #8
Rio de Janeiro, 2005

Internet, our greatest ally against information manipulation

We interviewed Jenner of Misturinha Podcast

By Bruno Privatti

Timothy Leary's last drug campaign before his death

Castration of actions disguised as spiritual elevation

By Maite Schneider


TAGS: activism, culture, drugs, videos

The 'war on drugs' is absolutely indecent. Prohibiting the use of psychotropic substances benefits the violence of trafficking at the expense of public money, and it doesn't effectively prevent drug use, which, due to dubious origins and adulteration, becomes even more dangerous. In this text, I will try to unravel the dubious ideology that prohibits things like marijuana and hallucinogens, ignoring the millennia-old use of these substances for religious, hedonistic, or medicinal purposes.


The root of the prohibition of substances lies in the medieval church, which for dogmatic reasons prohibited the use of all kinds of spices (not just psychotropics) like perfumes, sugar, etc. Anything that caused pleasure was controlled by the clergy. Even music took years to rid itself of the prohibition of dissonance and even polyphony, the basis of all Western music after the Renaissance period (Note: the same as what happens today in countries like Afghanistan and Iran).


Sex is still disregarded by the church as a sublime and religious act in itself, without reproduction as its main purpose, and the prohibition of contraceptives by the Pope only endorses this assertion. Even medicinal drugs were attacked, mainly because they were used by 'witches,' who were nothing more than peasant doctors, midwives, etc., who had knowledge of herbs. The discovery of America, already at a time when these substances were tolerated, created nations like Brazil, which depended on and created its wealth (which, of course, went to the colonizers) almost solely from a psychoactive substance that causes dependence, coffee, and sugar, spices previously restricted in use in Europe. Not to mention tobacco, a habit of Native Americans that spread worldwide at an alarming rate, despite the Church's restrictions, which could not tolerate such an 'infernal' thing that burned and produced smoke.


In the 19th century, with Enlightenment absolutely consolidated, in the midst of positivism, the discovery of numerous drugs was made, among them anesthetics, which revolutionized surgery. Intellectuals used Absinthe (a drink with a slightly different effect than alcohol), cocaine, opium, tobacco in the form of snuff and cigarettes, and the use of these substances (with perhaps the exception of opium) was refined and dandyish. But among the lower classes there was still prejudice (in addition to lack of money, of course) reminiscent of the Church, especially among Protestants, but alcohol was always widely used.


The 20th century began with Dr. Freud's psychoanalysis, who was a notable user of tobacco and cocaine, which at the time was not considered, as it is normally understood today, a negative point for him. At Sears, the American department store, one could buy a kit with a syringe and various substances for the head of the household to relax or have fun. Anthropology was on the rise, and various scholars traveled to remote places and experimented with the religious drugs of various peoples.


In fact, almost every culture has a specific drug. Some cases go to extremes, such as some Viking tribes, who used an extremely toxic mushroom. They made the strongest warrior drink a potion with the mushroom, and then the whole tribe drank the warrior's urine, which maintained the psychotropic effect but not the toxic effect; the warrior became ill for a few days. Mexican Indians who use Peyote cactus vomit for days on end, with their mouths sore and dry, just to have hallucinations. Normally, the shaman or medicine man of the tribe makes use of these substances and from there makes predictions or cures.


“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

Text about drugs that is part of Timothy Leary's last campaign, before his death in 1996

Broadcast TV networks in contrast to the public financing model exemplified by the BBC

Zoroastrianism, Coptic Church, Siberian Eskimos, indigenous peoples throughout the Americas (in fact, 80% of hallucinogenic plants are concentrated in the Americas), Sufis of Islam, African tribes, they all use or used psychotropic substances for religious, pleasure, or medicinal purposes. It is believed that in ancient Greece, in the Eleusinian rites, a derivative of Ergot, the mold of rye, was used as a hallucinogen similar to LSD. If this is true, illustrious Greeks like Plato, who participated in the ceremonies, used (or saw people use) hallucinogens.

However, despite all this, the largest Protestant nation in the world, the United States, in 1914 decided to pass a law prohibiting the use of various psychotropic substances, a move imitated by the whole world sometime later. In addition, in the 1930s, perhaps due to economic depression, they tried to prohibit alcohol. The trafficking was so rampant, the violence so much, that they backed off.

Meanwhile, LSD was discovered, and Aldous Huxley experimented with mescaline and wrote a very influential book to this day, "The Doors of Perception." The groundwork was laid for the first countercultural movement, the Beatniks, in the 1950s. Heavy drug users, intellectuals, jazz enthusiasts, this reasonably small group of people formed the cultural basis for the revolution of the 1960s. Through their books, an entire generation of people directed towards the use of drugs without prejudice, and even with exaggeration, was created. And with it, the sexual and cultural revolution that we all know.

Research on the psychiatric use of LSD was progressing (with controversial results to this day) very well when the government realized there was a whole generation not geared towards consumption, unconcerned with work, and pacifist (this in the midst of the futile Vietnam War). This was the ultimatum for drugs. The American government banned LSD in 1966 and ended funding for its research (psychiatric study of LSD continues only in Switzerland). International drug trafficking began. There was a whole campaign of misinformation about drugs. The drug user could not trust any technical information about the substance; exaggerated reports showed dubious facts, etc. Even today, there is something of this, although it is much easier to obtain reliable information about drugs.

That's right. You thought the government prohibits drugs because they "cause harm," but in fact, the government prohibits them because they are counterproductive in a society of consumerist zombies, tireless workers of faceless corporations, and naturally depressed and irreligious people.


It's true that some drugs are harmful and can cause terrible addiction, like heroin; it's true that one can die from a cocaine overdose; and it's true that an unprepared and depressed person, in an unfavorable environment, can commit suicide under the influence of LSD. But alcohol and tobacco also cause many harms and are legal. Don't you think that citizens should decide what to use? Do you enjoy being treated like a baby who can't have a candy because daddy doesn't want? You, respectable citizen, do you like paying for drug searches and seizures, which could generate taxes for the government and have much better quality, thus preventing many deaths? Do you think your child deserves information from friends and drug dealers or from a label? Don't you trust people?

I'm not advocating for the legalization of heroin or cocaine, which would be impossible here, although the experience in the Netherlands isn't as positive as some claim. At least there, addicts, who are sick, have government assistance. And there will always be addicts. Research shows that at least 10% of the population develops some kind of dependency other than coffee or tobacco. But hallucinogens don't cause addiction and are generally enriching experiences. There's hardly any LSD trafficking simply because it's not addictive; the person doesn't even feel a recurring desire to use it again (unlike cocaine, another drug that doesn't cause physical dependence, only strong psychological dependence) - in other words, safe drugs are not usually trafficked, and the common belief (I've heard this many times) that "Acid" is much more dangerous than cocaine. Not to mention marijuana, which should never have been prohibited, and which is wrongly labeled as addictive, brain-destroying, etc., while the people who say this drink every day or every weekend.

I'm not saying that everyone should use drugs. Only modern shamans, artists, intellectuals, and creative people in general usually benefit, and they are willing to pay the small price that some drugs demand. But we all have the right to experiment. We all have the right to know.

So, what do you think
about Timothy Leary? Leave a comment below



About the medicinal use of

Cannabis sativa

What are the industrial uses of this plant? Why its ban?

The decade that

changed the world

bottom of page