By Mike Dunafon
The year was 1875. Some people would call it the beginning of a more “God-like” society free of the evils of the Chinese Immigrant high on opium. 141 years later most thinking people would call the “cure” far worse than the “cause.” Few Americans today have an idea where the concept of prohibition began.
Most Americans believe that prohibition began with the temperance movement in the early 1900’s. The award winning HBO series Boardwalk Empire graphically portrays the consequences of Americas’ attempt to prohibit the consumption of alcohol for any purpose other than medicinal use, with The Volstead Act.
“The National Prohibition Act, known informally as the Volstead Act, was enacted to carry out the intent of the Eighteenth Amendment, which established prohibition in the United States. The Anti-Saloon League’s Wayne Wheeler conceived and drafted the bill, which was named for Andrew Volstead, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who managed the legislation.”
Should anyone care to believe that the passage of Colorado’s Amendment 64 removed the scourge of well-intentioned bad legislation from our lives recall
“The modern antidrug campaign is not a democratic movement at all; the ancient world didn’t have a Nancy Reagan, it didn’t wage a billion-dollar drug war, it didn’t imprison people who used drugs, and it didn’t embrace sobriety as a virtue. It indulged … and from this world in which drugs were a universally accepted part of life sprang art, literature, science, and philosophy.”
The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization
D.C.A. Hillman, Ph.D
The art of medicine resulted from the discovery of drugs, not reasoned inquiry … Remedies save the sick, not words.
“But when Orion and Sirius are come into mid-heaven, and rosy-fingered Dawn sees Arcturus, then cut off all the grape-clusters . . . and bring them home. Show them to the sun ten days and ten nights: then cover them over for five, and on the sixth day draw off into vessels the gifts of joyful Dionysus.”
—Hesiod, Works and Days 700 BC
“Here is the leaf that begins all life worth having”
–Gilgamesh 2800 – 2500 BC
Today, we trace the modern drug war to the first drug laws passed against the Chinese in 1875. The history of
prohibition does not begin in 1875!
Prohibition can be traced back to Constantine the Great.
Despite this traditional squeamishness about the topic of recreational drugs, a wealth of ancient literature shows that the Greco-Roman world actively indulged in numerous mind-altering substances of homegrown and foreign origins. Plants were the source of the pleasure-inducing drugs used to elevate the mood and enhance the senses. Opiates, anticholinergics, and psychotropic fungi were the drugs of choice in antiquity, but a number of unrelated toxins were also used to create the out-of-body experiences that the Greeks and Romans so craved. It may not be pleasant for some of us to admit it, but the texts clearly show that our most original and respected thinkers flourished within a culture that wholeheartedly embraced recreational drug use.
The harsh living conditions in the Classical world took their toll on the psyche as well as the body, and in an effort
to alleviate mental anguish the Greeks and Romans turned their attention to the same plants that brought them miraculous healing. Antiquity had its medications, but it also had its recreational drugs. It may not be pleasant for some of us to admit it, but the texts clearly show that our most original and respected thinkers flourished within a culture that wholeheartedly embraced recreational drug use. The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization D.C.A.
Gilgamesh (/ˈɡɪl.ɡə.mɛʃ/; Gilgameš, originally Bilgamesh ) is the main character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem that is considered the first great work of literature, and in earlier Sumerian poems. In the epic, Gilgamesh is a demigod of superhuman strength who builds the city walls of Uruk to defend his people and travels to meet the sage Utnapishtim, who survived the Great Flood.
Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as a historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the
existence of other figures associated with him in the epic. If Gilgamesh existed, he probably was a king who reigned sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC. The Sumerian King List claims that Gilgamesh ruled the city of Uruk for 126 years. According to the Tummal Inscription, Gilgamesh and his son Urlugal rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil in Tummal, a sacred quarter in her city of Nippur.
No matter how far we go back in history we discover that human beings and the animal kingdom alike have embraced the concept of altered consciousness. It turns out that a constant state of sobriety is in fact an unnatural state. To imprison people for something that is done in accordance with their own design is in fact criminal. Stop, look, and listen! The simple idea that was taught to us as children when crossing the street is something that we must do as adults when told that other people in far-away places in positions of power know more about our lives than we do. Do not tolerate this fiction any longer.