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Drug use from lack of hope




It is a known fact that the United States imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth, both in terms of total prison inmates at any given time and of percent of the population. Here in the United States, 5 out of 6 of those inmates were imprisoned for drug use.

This indicates that drug use in this nation is higher than in any other nation. (Although I do not have the statistics with me, many nations do not view drug use so readily as a criminal offense, so they would have higher actual amounts of drug use than the crime statistics there would otherwise show.)

It is also true that, more than most other nations, there is pressure on people to earn a lot of money, and this trend is increasing here.

Drug and alcohol use are driven by people hating their lives in the sense that they feel they need to "escape from reality" as they perceive it. If they work long hours in jobs they hate, they are more likely to feel like this. (There are many other factors of course, outside the scope of this post.) If I changed careers now, I would probably be a job/life coach, so as to help people find careers they enjoy while working only a manageble number of hours.

I feel a defining factor here is hope. If a person has hope for the future, both for himself, for society, and for the people he loves, he is less likely to feel a need to escape from reality. Having hope for himself includes not working at a job he hates, but it also includes not feeling worn out at the end of the day.

(I do not drink or use drugs, in part for religious reasons. I also want good control over my physical and mental faculties. I did drink frequently in college, and did not like the effect. I have tried marijuana, and while an observer would probably have known I was high, I did not feel any different and still do not understand the point of using it--nor do I want to. However, I feel that imprisoning people for drug use is the wrong approach.)



7 blog comments below

I am not sure about all the reasons people do illegal drugs, nor am I sure about the reasons that they are illegal in the first place. If drugs were made illegal for safety reasons, I still think this would be unconstitutional. Why should the government decide what is safe for us to put in our bodies? But if the current drugs were made illegal for safety reasons, it certainly doesn't explain why smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are both legal. And I certainly don't think that the "war on drugs" or imprisoning drug addicts is doing anything to make the situation any better.
SpaceInvader75 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:58 am
I hope I did not sound like I was preaching. The above would apply to any form of addiction (defined loosely as any activity done out of compulsion). Gambling is a good example, when it gets out of control. I am somewhat of a television addict, and will sometimes spend an unhealthy amount of time watching TV, if shows I like are available, as a means to procrastinate or when I otherwise do not think I should.

The above would also apply to a desire to commit suicide, although I am not sure how much that would involve compulsion. (I know someone who was recently hospitalized for trying to kill himself.) But, as I recently said to that man's father, a person who tries to commit suicide must be afraid of living, or afraid of life. The man agreed that was his son's biggest issue (and he is now out the hospital and doing better and apparently even has a companion animal).

My own reasons for not liking drugs include a religious belief that they can cause negativity and resulting karma to accumulate. This causes physical pain to those like myself who are sensitive to it, and I expect to be frequently around others who are even more sensitive than I, such as the leaders of my New Age church. (The electricity moving within our bodies creates weak magnetic fields, known as the aura. I understand even mainstream doctors accept its existence; they just don't do anything with it.)

As for the need for government intervention, that is beyond what I am willing to comment on. The essential issues, I think, are (1) the extent to which harming oneself, such as by suicide, should be regulated and (2) when individuals should know an activity would cause harm to themselves or others, such as by driving recklessly.
boinsterman on Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:37 am
Quote:
My own reasons for not liking drugs include a religious belief that they can cause negativity and resulting karma to accumulate. This causes physical pain to those like myself who are sensitive to it, and I expect to be frequently around others who are even more sensitive than I, such as the leaders of my New Age church. (The electricity moving within our bodies creates weak magnetic fields, known as the aura. I understand even mainstream doctors accept its existence; they just don't do anything with it.)


I have a question about your opinion on psychedelics. I can understand not taking drugs that help one "escape" instead of dealing with issues, but what about psychedelics? I think I'm using the correct word here; I'm mainly referring to natural ones, because I think those have been used fairly commonly for religious purposes. I don't know if I believe in karma the same way, but I believe your actions towards others affect yourself as well.
SpaceInvader75 on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:08 pm
I believe you are referring to peyote, marijuana, or even tobacco when used as part of religious ceremonies. (Native Americans smoke tobacco in their ceremonies in the belief that the spirits of their ancestors gain vicarious pleasure from it and so it attracts them. I participated in a Buddhist/Native American faith for about a year in which I followed this practice. But I am no longer with them.)

My own church forbids all drugs, including natural ones (except possibly over-the-counter products like vitamins). This specifically includes marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. Most of the others were not well known at the time the church was founded (1930), but I believe the same applies.

I believe the term "psychedelics" refers to a class of drugs which cause hallucinations?

The most common reason I have heard for using drugs is to "escape from reality". Another I heard in a movie is to "be someone other than yourself for a while", but that seems like the same thing.

For many years I was a Zen Buddhist and in many ways I still am. (It is not a faith which calls on higher powers, to my knowledge.) It is described as the study of reality or as the "desymbolization of the world". Our perception of reality is all in how we choose to see it. I choose to look it square in the face, and I find it beautiful.

(I changed faiths because Zen does not provide all the tools I believe I need in order to do well in this world, but that is beyond the scope of this thread.)
boinsterman on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:08 am
I am currently an agnostic; however I believe in meditation, although I am not very experienced with it. What do you think are some causes for lack of hope? This happens to me sometimes; I am officially unemployed right now. As an individual, I could find Buddhist concepts useful in dealing with depression:
Meditation (although I have to practice it more) might help clear my mind from a state of anxiety or depression. And accepting suffering would also help, instead of trying to avoid suffering. That could be a reason that people do drugs, to escape suffering. I was just pointing out that I don't think all drugs are done for that reason.
SpaceInvader75 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:28 pm
Most Zen Buddhists are agnostics. But I am not an instructor in that or in any form of meditation. Such instruction would have to be very personal and in-person by-example. It cannot be taught remotely or by someone such as myself with only limited understanding. If I knew where you live I might be able to ask around on your behalf, but I think you would have better luck on your own.

I got into it via traditional martial arts. I found the class by asking around in the town where I lived. After many years in the class, I realized the teacher was using it as a means to teach Zen. (Alertness is perhaps the most important part of enlightenment, in my limited experience and according to some teachings.) He did have us do a kneeling meditation briefly before and after class, but I met a bona fide Zen master who claims that the cross-legged sitting meditation (with feet on opposite thighs) is best. He was quite adamant about it, even though it takes many years of stretching to get that limber. (I can only get one foot up onto one thigh. And there are many who attained initial enlightenment with little or no meditation.)

I am satisfied that both men were truly enlightened, but be aware that there are lot of fakes out there. Most of these believe they have attained enlightenment, but I can tell in a glance that they have not. I even met one such woman who says she does not have to do the meditation at all.

The above assumes that you are considering Zen meditation, but your post suggests you are looking at others. Whatever you do, be consistent about it.

I would not suggest that all drug use is done for purposes of escape or to satisfy a compulsion. Most addictive behaviors are undertaken for other reasons. Prescription drugs, for example, are prescribed for a medical benefit. If I had known that television could be so addictive, I would not have watched so much of it when it was available to me. Most drugs or alcohol are taken for recreation (or sometimes alcohol with meals).

It is when an individual depends on it for other reasons other than these, such as to escape or to get to sleep (for nonsedatives) that it becomes a problem. One of the main media messages out there is that the potential for this is so great that we should know better than to use any recreational drugs at all, or to undertake any potentially destructive behavior any more than absolutely necessary.
boinsterman on Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:32 pm
How would you go about determining who was fake and who was real, when it comes to Buddhist teachers?
SpaceInvader75 on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:11 pm



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