Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Welcome back to the URW rg!

Of course, Puritan hats and shoes with shiny buckles should not be thrown out with the ideological bath water. They're quite cool. What is not cool is, as you point out with a large cudgel, interference in what adults can think and do in the comfort of their own homes.

Re Opium. I recommend that it is used only and repeatedly in extremely strict and repeatable environments that have no connection with normal everyday life. The reason being that certain molecules that will be taken in have the unfortunate result of hardwiring behaviour. Daily use for a month is enough to make quite a few neural connections and the beginning of a Learned Behaviour Disorder.

So if, for instance, you only ever take opium at 6 pm wearing blue clothes and sitting in green room with a pig, a Diamond Head lei round your neck and Nepal Flowers joss sticks on the go - then it is likely that the Learned Behaviour Disorder can be corrected simply by making any of the above elements unavailable.

It's been many years since I had opium, in Iran, which in itself was a unique enough environment to preclude any behaviour establishment, as I was only there for a couple of weeks. But the feeling was very relaxing and peaceful - and continued for several days, or so it felt.

One of the most important aspects of mind expansion is the acceptance of altered states. To become familiar with the edge, is to know your limits. Everyday W*stern life without mind expansion brings many people to edges that make them feel insane. It is good to know that it is not insanity. It makes the acceptance of indignity more bearable.

As you know I don't make much of a distinction between external and internal mind expansion. The ghost in the machine can be conversed with in many ways.

And that green tea looks delicious ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:41:09 AM EST
Sven Triloqvist:
What is not cool is, as you point out with a large cudgel, interference in what adults can think and do in the comfort of their own homes.

So - how are Jerome's neighbours?

Aside from burning houses down, smoking and alcohol abuse are staggeringly expensive, and they divert health care funds that could be used to keep people alive who are just plain unlucky rather than addicted.

Most domestic violence happens because either or both people are drunk or high. A&E on a Saturday night won't have a lot of sober people visiting.

The financial industry, in all of its addictive insanity, couldn't exist without its coke habits. Nor could advertising.

There's a lot more evidence of mind contraction through substance abuse than mind expansion.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they divert health care funds that could be used to keep people alive who are just plain unlucky rather than addicted.

That remains to be shown. Smokers and drinkers die young, and old age remains the most expensive disease to treat...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 11:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And where exactly do chocolate, masturbation, going to the movies and reading books fit into this nice little dystopian universe? ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 12:18:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I see - you want all the qualifications to that sweeping statement? Scuzi.

K. Consenting adults PROVIDING they do not expose non-consensuals to risk.

Of course, just being normal has its own risks - like irrelevance.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So which of alcohol, tobacco, cars and meat don't expose non-consensuals to risk?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few things about health costs of addictions:

  1. In particular for smoking my guess is that smokers are actually cheaper for society. We all die, and old people are expensive in treatment during the last bit of their lives, no matter what they die from. But smoking-related diseases often kill people in their sixties, just when they were supposed to enjoy their pensions. A really bad addiction is motorcycles, killing ungrateful young men just when they've been fed and educated for 20 years and before they start working.

  2. I think the argument about cost to society is unfair when you have universal health care paid by taxes. I'm very much in favour of universal health care and don't mind at all paying the necessary taxes. But you can't first force people to pay for something and then use that as an argument to restrict their freedom to do something that only hurts themselves.  

Real capricorns don't believe in astrology.
by tomhuld (thomas punkt huld at jrc punkt it) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Technically the UK Treasury makes around £6bn a year in a tobacco taxes, even allowing for the cost of healthcare. So - technically - yes it's a nice little earner for the Treasury.

It's also a tax which falls disproportionately on poor people, who are more likely to spend more of their income on booze and fags.

It's clever that the tobacco and alcohol companies have framed this as a libertarian personal freedom issue.

But it's an odd kind of freedom which is quite so expensive and quite so compulsive.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 03:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My opium fantasy is that a law is passed allowing undertakers to open opium dens up front, all nice, plants, comfortable, beds, the whole thing, out up to the street....over 60's only, maybe, but with a dispensation for other family members or those with medical conditions....a puff maybe and a lie down, ease out the strain as the body ages...and maybe then a person might find the pain strong and maybe they don't have a supportive family, but they could ease into that opium den, head towards the back where it's dark and calm and kind and...of course...at the very back...the undertakers.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 01:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
heh, a sort of hospice, but a lot funkier!

i don't think it's the tobacco burning around yer nose, that's the problem, so much as the additives...

i can't stand to be in the same room, or downwind of malboro men or women.

camels, ever so slightly less toxic.

cheap 'nazionale' cigs - the kind like 'alfa' and 'sax' which empty out if you hold them vertically for a second smell ok.

taste like shit though!

rollup baccy like golden virginia, samson, drum etc (not bugle or bull durham!) are ok for me to be around, but normal ciggies are utterly, insidiously, creepily horrible, a socially accepted Zyklon-b...

as are car fumes.

our blitheness about accepting one but not another, is firstly an unawareness of externalities, quite epidemic right now, just another flava of cog-diss our pathological society has crafted for the sake of its fear of evolving too fast.

and secondly, and this is more subtle, smoking is popular because it harks back to preindustrial times, a collective memory of times when the air was cleaner of heavy metals, benzene fumes etc, (though walking through a town, where ordure was tipped from windows into the streets below, had to be quite the olfactory experience...lol)

i ponder this every time i walk through a tweed up umbrian hill town, like assisi, fr'example...how it must have been in its halcyon heyday...

or having the pigsty next to the bathroomless cottage, and the sheep down on the ground floor...

stepping out into that mess every morning for the first pee of the day, must have been quite a bouquet of preindustrial heaven!

i imagine that winter's slowing down of bacterial process must have been a compensatory blessing for having your tits freeze, even as you piled in fully dressed into the family bed full of 5 aromatic nearest and dearest.

people who aren't addicted to anything will never understand those who are, just as a two legged man will never understand what a one-legged man goes through to walk...

i agree with sven about how substances become wedded to scenarios, and how our search for novelty makes us want to push the perceptual envelope.

tobacco, like alcohol, was used in shamanistic ritual prehistorically, though its effect on the nervous system is quite complex, the smell has a fascination that is very, very ancient, like when you drive by a leaf pile burning and actually open the car window to enjoy the gorgeous perfume it adds to the breeze...

burning tobacco was the micro version of that, and i remember a similar pleasure when my granpa lit his pipe back in the 50's, before they, (tobacco companies) had the science to really fuck with the herb.

so i fully sympathise with dodo and jerome in their rage at the selfishness of people who are slaves to the advertising, have been bernays-ed, (the tv show 'madmen' does a great job of portraying the actual process of this), and the toxic cloud of their ignorance claims a disproportionate amount of space and conditions it very negatively, as second hand smoke studies have clearly shown.

as indeed do the collective decisions of oil companies and auto giants who have been squelching cleaner solutions since the beginning of the last century, the trams and windmills era, when everyone knew that windpower worked!

to live with the conditioning of only the poisons that please one's own aesthetic might be the ultimate definition of sovereignty.

with the important discoveries we are making in neurochemistry, i suspect we will find ways to conquer cog-diss in the search for Unity of Mind, a rare condition where ducks are in a row, and the horses in harness are not trying to go in different directions.

because cog-diss is the reason people are so internally upset, the old millennial certainties lie in shards around our feet, and as yet very, very few have perceived the next steps towards empathic education of the young, a problem i consider far more noxiously endemic even than air or water pollution...

brave diary, rg. it's fascinating how this subject always stirs up some good discussion, hoary as it is.

each cigarette burns through 35 mg of vitamin c...

just breathing in bankok is the equivalent of smoking a pack a day...

all points taken?

ps. i have a sneaking suspicion most smokers are secretly glad of the government regs against public smoking, as they don't have to deal with will power till they get back into a free-smoke zone, (as opposed to a smoke-free one), lol.

the more social pain we can remove, the less people will be careening around damaging themselves and others through self-immolation of any kind. my own anecdotal research has shown me that the people who don't have addictions had a childhood that encouraged a solid sense of self in the first place, a great gift, which has the power to immunise against the blandishments of the advertising sindustry, and the cretinously banal, sinisterly straight-out-of-orwell, drearily mass-produced pleasures of the pignorant masses.

got a light?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Nov 21st, 2008 at 11:36:37 PM EST
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