Today I'd prefer to celebrate the living first, so wish Albert Hofmann a very happy 102nd birthday. If anyone could offer a better image for the sensible use of psychedelic substances, then he seems like living proof that (generally) they can prove life-enhancing.
Sadly, he lost his wife, Anita Hofmann-Guanella, on December 20th 2007, at the age of 94 - and they had shared lives for an amazing 75 years...
I don't wish to appear a zealot (nothing I can think of suits everybody), and I also don't feel like discussing the stupid image of jumping out of a window (whoops, I put that image in your head yet again!) As Bill Hicks said, if you think you can fly, why don't you take off from the ground, you don't see pigeons taking the lift (elevator) to the sixth floor, now do you?
That drugs can confuse, mislead, upset or disturb some people seems obvious to me. For some reason (worth studying) many people don't find it obvious that alcohol (for instance) appears in a multitude of anti-social or self-damaging behaviours, and yet appears encouraged (even among fitness fanatics like sports people, who always seem to get rewarded with champagne). That they spray it rather than drink it might seem wise (driving fast cars, precision kicking of a ball, etc) but the image remains of alcohol as a reward! Alcohol as a celebration (Christmas).
At the same time - of all the drugs, alcohol represents the longest and clearest experiment to prove that Prohibition doesn't work. It simply led to badly made, or badly measured, use of moonshine - it brought crime, greed, violence, furtiveness and other nasty stuff into existence - and it poured money into criminal families like the Kennedy family, who went on to ill-fated attempts at power. Whether the assassinations came from religious nonsense (anti-Catholic), or old scores from the crime wars, or something else, I will leave to better researchers than myself.
Prohibition Didn't Work
For me the most interesting (or curious) result of Prohibition failing was that the same tactic was immediately turned on other substances. My private theory remains that a department of the police existed, and no-one wanted to simply throw them out of work (bureaucracy seems self-perpetuating) so they simply turned their focus on a drug less popular with journalists, lawyers, judges, politicians, etc. They looked around and found marijuana getting used by Mexicans and Blacks (and some bohemian artists) and turned the full force of the same tactics onto that. And we still live with that locked-in bit of non-sense (if it didn't work with alcohol, who in their right mind thought it might work on something else?)
During alcohol prohibition, of course, you could legally smoke dope...
A Personal Opinion
I have extended rants on this matter, which I won't bore you with now. A chief of police in the UK recently recommended legalizing all drugs, and I agree. They may still need licensing and controlling, researching and measuring, but at least people would receive clear dosage levels, quality controlled, and (hopefully) also receive a good education on the use and misuse of drugs.
As people only ever talk (vaguely) about Abuse (never Use) they keep the demonizing factor going, yet may happily receive morphine from a nurse when in pain. (Use).
And pain expresses itself through the bodymind, so we can't only talk of physical pain, as psychological/psychic/emotional pain hurts just as bad.
This poor police chief now finds himself howled down by a few individuals, just for trying to act in a rational manner, because a few children died after taking something someone gave them as 'ecstasy'. No-one knows what chemicals they actually took (illegal supply), no-one knows what dose they took (illegal supply), and no-one educated these children about the difference between considered use and abuse - or gave them any pointers - just surrounded the whole subject with paranoia, and made their friends too scared to call emergency services (criminal involvement), or to tell the doctors the truth (even if they knew which chemical the victim had taken, it's strength, purity, etc.)
(Never show any hint of the positive when discussing 'drugs', or as Bob so astutely pointed out -'some drugs' - and please don't discuss them in a rational manner).
And into those journalistic manipulations of distressed parents (for whom I have the greatest sympathy at the loss of a child), very few people mention the much greater damage, death, illness, unhappiness, etc caused by (say) alcohol, to unstable (or ill-informed) individuals and society.
Enough, already. My three glasses of red wine, and one tobacco roll-up may have tired me slightly, so I'll find another time and place for this.
We MLA students also want to mark the first anniversary of a planet without Robert Anton Wilson - but with something positive (our Wiki project, amongst other things), and little sadness. Whatever your belief about afterlives (and mine tends towards 'dead' people continuing in other people's minds and memories - especially if they have left books or buildings, ideas or discoveries), I miss him still.
Bob wrote simply and clearly about 'death', and elsewhere you can find his lucid use of words - in Cheerful Thoughts on Death and Dying. I leave you to explore, because 1:30 a.m. (GMT) means I gotta walk the dog one more time, and go to bed.
Peace to all sentient beings.