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I'm halfway through OPAR (although I don't think that this is addressed in that book) so I'm close to seeing the objectivist theory, but I'm curious of the application in my life.

I smoke cigarettes and drink a lot of coffee. There has been other things in my past that most would consider vices and there are a couple of lingering ones too that I'd rather not get into.

What is the objectivist view on drugs and alchohol?

I feel that drugs and alchohol inhibit your integration of reality by creating a fog of 'faux-reality'....but then again can moderation be a consideration on this subject?

~Michael

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I feel that drugs and alchohol inhibit your integration of reality by creating a fog of 'faux-reality'....but then again can moderation be a consideration on this subject?

~Michael

What's wrong with a little "faux-reality" when you are in severe pain and require morphine to get through it?

A particular drug is good or bad, depending on the objective context. Don't drop context when you are trying to understand values. Look at specific situations, with all the facts before you, and decide what is right. Then you can build up to broader generalizations.

Whether something is actually of value to you is determined by the reality of the situation. Not what you "feel".

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interestingly put Mr. Swig.

I'm just wondering how objectivists view drugs that have no real medical value.

Lets say, Marijuana (even though it does now have some medical value)...I partake on occasion and when I do I enjoy the music I listen to much more and as a musician find that marijuana helps my creativity. Also, I can really get into things (like certain books) when I partake and I feel that it helps me focus on occasion. Friends have called my usage "self-medicating" because I chose not to take Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, etc etc that my doctor has tried to prescribe to me (bipolar).

But it also (when not used in moderation) causes a "fog" to be apparent even days after usage (that is the fog that I was speaking about).

That is a side effect that I dont like, thats why I don't smoke marijuana a lot.

All in all, I see the benefit to some drugs but I completely oppose drugs that treat these new "disorders" (bipolar, manic/depression, social anxiety). I oppose them because I feel that the only reason doctors prescribe them is to make more money for the drug industry...i feel that human beings have the power to change whatever they want in their consciencesness if they choose the right system and structure their mind accordingly.

So, with all that said, I'm coming back to the question of how Objectivists view drugs that aren't considered 'legal' or 'okay' by todays social standard (ie Marijuana).

Your insights would be great guys.

~Michael

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I'm just wondering how objectivists view drugs that have no real medical value.... Your insights would be great guys.

There was previous discussion of this. You might want to try "The Morality of Smoking, Merged Topics" thread in the "Ethics" forum. The thread started in April on smoking, but around mid-June it morphed into drugs.

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I've gone through and read the other threads concerning nicotene and alchohol but they havn't answered my questions regarding marijuana and other 'reality-changing' drugs. I know that harder drugs are bad and I stay away from them.

My dillema lies with what MisterSwig said...I was in a pretty bad car accident almost 2 years ago where I had ripped out my right shoulder, tearing the muscle underneath my scapula and severely damaging my tricep, bicep, and deltoid. The pain that I was in called for a large dosage of Tylox and Valium for 3 months. When my doctor pulled me off of them (after 3 months) he did it 'cold turkey' and I went through a severe withdrawl from my addiction and even to this day I find pain killers irresistable, not just because of the minor pain that I live with on a daily basis, but because of the feeling I get when I'm on such pain relievers, I feel more capable, not in pain and happier. I've spoken to other people who were addicted to pain killers and they share the same story as I do. It's almost as if I have no control over my pain killer usage when they are presented to me. 'Thankfully' I don't have insurance at this time or I would be on a regiment of Percocet and Somas...I personally feel that even though those drugs help me, I feel almost crippled by my previous addiction and I fear I will become reckless if I start down that downward spiral again.

It's a hard trade off...take the painkillers because of my pain or don't take them in fear that I may become addicted again. It's been a constant struggle (and most of it has come out of fear: fear that I will have increased pain and fear that I will fall into addiction again).

So I really want to know what would be the objectivist view on a situation like this. I have a lot to learn and I want to choose the correct path.

Thanks guys....your views are invaluable to me in my early stage of understanding the application of Objectivism.

~Michael

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Release, now you have changed the focus of the subject. Originally you asked about "drugs and alcohol" and asked about "Marijuana" which you use to "enjoy the music I listen to much more and as a musician find that marijuana helps my creativity." But now you are talking about the use of drugs for medical purposes. These are two different things.

I have stated emphatically that I am against the recreational use of substances which reduces one's awareness, lessens one's reasoning ability, or adversely affects one's judgment. But drugs prescribed for medical reasons serve a legitimate purpose, when prescribed by a knowledgeable doctor and used by a reasonable patient.

I am not a medical doctor or a psychiatrist, but as you describe your situation it seems to be a combination of physical and mental addiction, for which there are appropriate treatment centers. There are many people who face the problem of chronic pain, and there are relatively reasonable ways of dealing with it. There are centers that specialize in this, and a decent person in the medical field can point you in the right direction.

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I know that I was speaking about recreational use in the initial post, but I was mainly lumping all 'reality changing' drugs in there. Marijuana is mainly not used in a medicinal manor, but it is a drug that can be used for several purposes (medicaly) but our healthcare system does not allow those prescriptions because of the 'war on drugs'.

The fact that I may have a mental or physical addiction to pain killers is not the main reason I started this post. The main reason I started this post is because I was curious as to how Ayn Rand or Leonard Peikoff (or any other great objectivists) has viewed drugs in general. A prescribed pain killer can be used in a medical way or in a recreational way because it alters ones reality. Marijuana is the same (in my opinion).

I understand that you (Mr. Speicher) are against the use of reality changing drugs used for recreational purposes but I'm curious to find out what Ayn Rand would think about it. A pain killer if prescribed by a reasonable doctor can be used in an unreasonable way by the person taking it.

So, from an Objectivist perspective, there is no OVERALL morality to the use of drugs, but it is all pertaining to the individual and the context of their situation?

Thanks guys!

~Michael

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I understand that you (Mr. Speicher) are against the use of reality changing drugs used for recreational purposes but I'm curious to find out what Ayn Rand would think about it.

Well, here is one quote. If you search the literature I am sure you can find others.

"It appears, however, that the 'progressive' rich will be the first victims of their own social theories: it is the children of the well-to-do who emerge from expensive nursery schools and colleges as hippies, and destroy the remnants of their paralyzed brains by means of drugs."

(The Ayn Rand Letter, "Don't Let It Go--Part II," V. 1, No. 5, December 6, 1971.)

So, from an Objectivist perspective, there is no OVERALL morality to the use of drugs, but it is all pertaining to the individual and the context of their situation?

I cannot speak for Objectivism, but yes, in general, value is not inherent in an object; you always have to ask the question: of value to whom, and for what purpose?

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I cannot speak for Objectivism, but yes, in general, value is not inherent in an object; you always have to ask the question: of value to whom, and for what purpose?

This brings me to my next question. If I were to indulge in something like drugs and the benefits out weigh the negative consequences then it would be in my rational self interest to do so with moderation. For instance, if I were to listen to a song that I had composed while high on marijuana and because of my altered state I was able to change it in a way that when I publish it the song makes it big and I recieve monetary compensation. I know that would be an assumption to what MAY happen but it illustrates my point.

As you can probably see, I'm having an internal conflict as to if Marijuana (or any minor drug use that I embark on) benefits me in some way. I personally see a benefit in my music and art...I don't get lazy and tired, I get energized and enthused (moreso than I would while not on marijuana.)

So within the objectivist ethics, would this be considered destructive behavior or would it be considered rational self interest (in my case).

Forgive me for getting as personal as I have recently, but I'm trying to sort out some things with this new philosophy that I'm subscribing to and I see it working...I just have some kinks to work out.

~Michael

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It's a hard trade off...take the painkillers because of my pain or don't take them in fear that I may become addicted again.  It's been a constant struggle (and most of it has come out of fear: fear that I will have increased pain and fear that I will fall into addiction again).

You might be interested to know that I'm currently working on a paper that addresses just this issue from an Objectivist point of view.

In any case, you should not worry about becoming addicted to pain killers. That's largely a myth. Addictions do not result from substances, but from the role a substance can come to play in the full context of your life. Assuming you have strong values, overcoming the withdrawl symptoms of pain killers will be mildly uncomfortable, but surely better than spending your time in pain now.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not discussing the Objectivist position on addiction and related issues. There isn't one. I'm discussing these issues from an Objectivist perspective (i.e., starting from Rand's views on volition, values, emotions, the subconscious, etc.).

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This brings me to my next question.  If I were to indulge in something like drugs and the benefits out weigh the negative consequences then it would be in my rational self interest to do so with moderation.  For instance, if I were to listen to a song that I had composed while high on marijuana and because of my altered state I was able to change it in a way that when I publish it the song makes it big and I recieve monetary compensation.  I know that would be an assumption to what MAY happen but it illustrates my point.

If I were you, I would ask myself why I am so lacking in energy and enthusiasm for that which I love, and why am I looking for a quick fix for that which I lack.

So within the objectivist ethics, would this be considered destructive behavior or would it be considered rational self interest (in my case).
Your rational self-interest is dependent on long-term benefits and concerns. I think such self-interest would be much better served in building up your character and your understanding of life. The marijuana may seem to solve some immediate problem, but in reality it just forestalls you having to deal with the real problems that are making you feel as you do.

Forgive me for getting as personal as I have recently, but I'm trying to sort out some things with this new philosophy that I'm subscribing to and I see it working...I just have some kinks to work out.

That's quite understandable, and I can assure you that you are not the first to deal with the issues that confront you now. My advice would be to continue learning all that can about Objectivism, and you might benefit from consultation with some of the Objectivist psychologists and psychiatrists who have been mentioned many times on this forum. A little bit of help can often go a very long way.

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Guest jrshep
My advice would be to continue learning all that can about Objectivism, and you might benefit from consultation with some of the Objectivist psychologists and psychiatrists who have been mentioned many times on this forum.

Stephen,

I assume that with respect to Objectivist psychologists you are referring to Dr. Michael Hurd and Dr. Ellen Kenner.

Which Objectivist psychiatrist(s) are you referring to? I'm not currently aware of any.

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Which Objectivist psychiatrist(s) are you referring to? I'm not currently aware of any.

I can think of Dr. Arthur Mode in Maryland and Dr. Jonathan Rosman in Southern California. Both have lectured at Objectivist conferences.

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Guest jrshep
I can think of Dr. Arthur Mode in Maryland and Dr. Jonathan Rosman in Southern California.  Both have lectured at Objectivist conferences.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you for your reply, Betsy. Do you remember what they lectured on, and do you know if those lectures are now available on tape? Also, do you know if either of these two psychiatrists have websites?

I'll do a seach and see what I can come up with, but since it's convenient to ask you via this forum, I'll hope you have some answers to these followup questions. Might save me a futile search. Thanks.

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Stephen,

I assume that with respect to Objectivist psychologists you are referring to Dr. Michael Hurd and Dr. Ellen Kenner.

And others who are not as well-known.

Which Objectivist psychiatrist(s) are you referring to? I'm not currently aware of any.

There are a number scattered throughout the country. Some who practice but who do not actively seek an Objectivist clientele.

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Guest jrshep
There are a number scattered throughout the country. Some who practice but who do not actively seek an Objectivist clientele.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thanks Stephen.

I'll hire a private investigator and see if they can locate them, who they are and where they are. :D (Just kidding.)

Started to say something smartass (as though that wasn't), but reminded myself of something else instead, something which you might enjoy. (If you can make the connection to it and my original question, you get ten points. :D )

I was listening to talk radio many years ago while living in Austin, Texas, and during one of their program-hours, they had on (for "entertainment" purposes only!?) a psychic taking calls and giving the callers bits of her wisdom. (I actually don't even remember whether it was a man or woman, but it doesn't really matter. I am certain, however, that it was either a man or a woman.)

Anyway, several calls into the program some guy calls in from a nearby community. Seems his dog (or he?) had gotten lost and he was hoping that the psychic could help him to find it, the dog that is. Naturally, being sensitive to the energy vibrations of the universal consciousness, the psychic did offer him a general direction to begin his search, and a range in miles. Good luck, and hope you find your dog!

Funny thing was when about fifteen minutes later the same guy calls back again, says that he's gotten ready to go out searching and was on his way out the door, but called back to ask if she could be just a bit more specific.

How ungrateful can one be? :D

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Do you remember what they lectured on, and do you know if those lectures are now available on tape? Also, do you know if either of these two psychiatrists have websites?

I don't think so.

Dr. Rosman had a lecture on Freud once and he also did an op-ed for ARI. Check the ARI and AynRandBookstore.com web sites.

Dr. Mode's lectures were not recorded. He usually spoke on America's Founding Fathers, his special interest, but he also spoke once on physical disorders that masquerade as psychological problems.

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Guest jrshep
I don't think so.

Dr. Rosman had a lecture on Freud once and he also did an op-ed for ARI.  Check the ARI and AynRandBookstore.com web sites. 

Dr. Mode's lectures were not recorded.  He usually spoke on America's Founding Fathers, his special interest, but he also spoke once on physical disorders that masquerade as psychological problems.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you Betsy. I'm just curious. I found several, mostly redundant, things about Dr. Rosman via Google, but nothing on Dr. Mode. I'll search ARI.

Physical disorders that masquerade as psychological problems sounds interesting.

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Thank you all for your comments. Like most of my conversations I play the devils advocate in order to find out some more answers. To Mr. Speicher, the conclusion that you came up with describing my use of marijuana as a 'quick fix' to a long term problem (so to speak) makes complete 100% sense to me and that is the answer I was leaning towards myself. The only problem is, I enjoy the Vices I have...I enjoy smoking cigs, drinking coffee and engaging in Marijuana usage. Untill the day when I personally see it damaging my life, I will not drop those. If I can find a rational self interest that is in my short term then I will deffinately stop...I know that man shouldn't ever plan for "short term" but I believe that it is necessary to keep us sane at some times (or at my young age).

One day, I will break through the constructs that these vices have on me and I will find a clarity through not using any of these substances. Untill then I'll continue to read OPAR and further understand myself.

Thanks!

~Michael

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All in all, I see the benefit to some drugs but I completely oppose drugs that treat these new "disorders" (bipolar, manic/depression, social anxiety). I oppose them because I feel that the only reason doctors prescribe them is to make more money for the drug industry...i feel that human beings have the power to change whatever they want in their consciencesness if they choose the right system and structure their mind accordingly.

why would doctors have the singular desire of making more money for the drug industry? they get more money if you continue to see them, which you will if you are happy with their treatment. im not an expert on these drugs but i do take several of them for bipolar disorder and they work wonders for me. i can't imagine trying to live my life the way i used to now that i see the difference. and frankly i dont think i could have done anything by reasoning with myself.

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why would doctors have the singular desire of making more money for the drug industry? they get more money if you continue to see them, which you will if you are happy with their treatment. im not an expert on these drugs but i do take several of them for bipolar disorder and they work wonders for me. i can't imagine trying to live my life the way i used to now that i see the difference. and frankly i dont think i could have done anything by reasoning with myself.

I probably shouldn't of put it that way because I didn't mean it in a literal sense.

I personally don't like the drugs because it made me different than what I was. I was on Topomax and Celexa and the only way I can describe my thought process was "blank". Nothing caught my attention like before...I had no drive for creativity, no sexual drive either. I felt that the pills were 'quick fixes' rather than the proper solution to the problem. Human beings have always dealt with some form of "anxiety" or "manic/depressive" state...and human beings have done great things, even those that are deemed "depressed, or manic". I thought it would be a better route to try to shake off this Manic state that I find myself in through a natural process. That process would entail reshaping my consciencesness to pick up on the slightest emotional change in my body and discover what the cause is. Most of the time, if I find some of my feelings and emotions irrational, I don't act on them, that is a big change from before (and that is why I was deemed "manic"). Like Objectivism describes, emotions are just emotions...and I've discovered that Emotions are the cause of these "illnesses" of the mind.

~Michael

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  • 1 month later...

The following passage seems relevant to the discussion about vices.

The taste of the first drink, smoke or chew betrayed the poison. They scratch and bite when we first hug them but their strangling embrace is hard to break. It tightens til it threatens to choke out the vital spark, together with the resisting strength of their victims.

There is no bane in the South American swamps, no virulent compound in the North American drugstores- chemistry knows no deadliest poison- whose gradual and persistent obtrusion on the human organism will not create an unnatural craving after a repetition of the lethal dose, a morbid appetency in every way analogous to the hankering of the toper after his favorite tipple. Swallow a tablespoon of laudanum or a few grains of arsenious acid every night; at first your physical conscience and nervous headaches warn you again and again; the struggle of the digestive organs against the fell intruder convulses your whole system. But you continue the dose and Nature, true to her highest law to preserve life at any price finally adapts herself to an abnormal condition- adapts your system to the poison at whatever cost to health, strength and happiness. Your body becomes an opium machine, an arsenic mill, a physiological engine moved by poisons and performing its vital functions only under the spur of the unnatural stimulus. But by and by the jaded system fails to respond to the spur, your strength gives way and alarmed at the symptoms of rapid deliquium, you resolve to remedy the evil by removing the cause. You try to renounce stimulation and rely once more on the unaided strength of the Via Vitae. But that strength is almost  exhausted. The oil that should have fed the flame of life has been wasted on a health consuming fire. Before you can regain strength and happiness your system must readapt itself to the normal condition and the difficulty of that rearrangement will be preportioned to the degree of the present dissarrangemen; the further you have strayed from Nature the longer it will take you to retrace your steps. Still it is always the best plan to make your way somehow or other, for, if your resign yourself to your fate it will soon confront you wilth another and greater difficulty. Before long the poison fiend will demand a larger fee; you have to increase the dose. The delightful and exhileirating stimulant has palled, the quantum has now to be doubled to pay the blue devils off, and to the majority of their distracted victims that seems the best, because the shortest road the peace. Restimulation really seems to alleviate the effects of the poison habit for a time. The anguish always returns and always with increased strength , as a fire, smothered for a moment with fuel, will break forth again with a fiercer flame .

                    Dr Oswald

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Release, you might want to considers cigarettes, coffee, and marijuana separately. Coffee is no big deal; it's a mild stimulant with no mind-altering properties or health risks for most people. Cigarettes also contain a mild stimulant with no mind-altering properties but the health risks are well known so smoking is not in anyone's long-term interest. Marijuana has both mind-altering properties and health risks; both are good reason not to use it.

I have stated emphatically that I am against the recreational use of substances which reduces one's awareness, lessens one's reasoning ability, or adversely affects one's judgment.

Even a few beers on a Friday night when you are relaxing with friends and don't need to be 100% mentally?

(Interestingly I once discussed this issue with a friend who is a strict Christian and does not drink at all. I expected an irrational religious explanation but her reason for not drinking was almost exactly the same as yours.)

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