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Maybe Its Time For A Reassessment, Baby

I did a news search for ‘high functioning schizophrenic’, and the only recent article that came up on the Google search engine was a post about the Elyn Saks interview I dealt with earlier. This is significant, and I’m getting around to the reasons why this should be so.

An article in the BBC, on the other hand, A Pandora’s Box full of Smart Drugs, deals in a critical fashion with the notion of drugs used to improve cognitive functioning.

These challenges aren’t theoretical but real. Cognitive-enhancing drugs, also known as “smart” drugs are already being used to help people with Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and brain injury. But is there burgeoning use among university students and others wishing to boost their brain power? It is this that’s posing the ethical dilemmas.

Although the author in the context of this article lists only 3 such cognitive-enhancing drugs, 2 ADHD drugs, and 1 antidepressant, and the credibility of the claims is somewhat suspect to say the least. I was struck by the mention of ‘schizophrenia’. Why? Most of the drugs used in the treatment of ‘schizophrenia’, to my way of thinking, are dumb drugs. They are drugs that interfere with, or impede, cognitive functioning.

If you’re thinking air-brained chicks, think again. These are also uglifying drugs. The newer ones are known to cause, as it is so often put, “excessive weight gain”. Becoming a candidate for the Biggest Loser television show, and having a substance abuse–oh, okay, chemical maintenance–problem to boot, is not going to make you an exemplary example of the species.

I referred to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in a recent post, and it’s apt that I bring up that novel at this time. Anti-depressant drug use has risen to all time highs thanks to the opening up of direct to consumer advertizing in the United States and New Zealand. In the Brave New World there was a happiness drug, Soma, mentioned that people were taking on a regular basis.

The power of anti-depressant drugs, oddly enough, is mostly psycho-somatic, as the placebo with side effects performs as well, if not better, in many trials.

In Huxley’s Brave New World, there are pockets of resistence against the absurdity of the establishment and those pockets of resistence seem to be centered somewhere around Taos New Mexico.

I feel that things have gone full circle. The counter cultural use of recreational intoxicants has evolved into something else, as an awareness of the dangers of excessive drug use, and the casualties therefrom, have mounted. The green revolution has come of age, to the fore, and now it is opposing the mainstream establishment that has its drugs that it is trying to entice people to abuse.

Huxley’s novel is about free choice. The big secret in today’s world is that people still have a choice. With choices come personal responsibilities. Drugs are not an adequate replacement for personal responsibilities. Even ‘the mental illness excuse’ is a lame excuse when it is used as an excuse for evading personal responsibilities. Some people in fact have become convinced that free choice is a myth. This is the point at which certain other people take to the woods.

It’s a more complicated world than it used to be. You could dump those pills down the toilet, and pollute the reservoirs of our drinking supplies, or you could find other and better ways to dispose of those dangeriously mysterious chemical compounds. Seduction, after all, is seldom about the real thing.

The tree’s are calling you and your tribe back to your circle at the center of the forest. Either attend, or return to the boring daily routine of your life as a depressed automaton.

There is nothing you can do about the matter. There is nothing else. Really? When you make that kind of a claim, don’t you see that somewhere else somebody is laughing uncontrollably at the very idea of you.