Essay:On drug use

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The use of substances that alter the quality of the consciousness is not something intrinsic to exploitation.

The primitive communists used consciousness-transforming substances collectively, following their hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Mushrooms, plants and other substances were all experimented collectively.

Cannabis, for instance, has been domesticated by human beings for more than 14,000 years in Asia, and emerged even before private property became the prevailing system, which was about 10,000 years ago.

Our perspectives on drug abuse today are metaphysical, backward and reactionary: we treat addiction as phenomena directly caused by substances, not by the material conditions human beings find themselves in.

The prohibition of drugs in the capitalist system is a racist policy in Brazil and in the USA. The use of drugs is usually not allowed for workers in an exploitative system, because it influences the quality of their labor (therefore, their capacity of providing surplus-value). Since workers do not work for themselves in an exploitative system, it is not up to workers to decide what they want to produce and consume.

In socialist relations of production, in which production would be collective and workers could decide the directions of their production, the use of consciousness-transforming substances would tend to be, obviously, a collective activity, and without the alienating factor of capitalism.

Workers, even for convenience, would already coexist materially as a collective throughout their days, at work, at home or at leisure, so naturally there would be tendencies to collective habits.

In the capitalist system, the use of drugs becomes something individualizing, isolating, anti-social, not only because we are taught to reproduce the logic of liberalism, whose conception of being human is that "we are selfish by nature", but because workers tend to use drugs to alleviate the harshness of alienation, by anesthetizing themselves.

That is the power of ideology. It is the distortion of consciousness. An exploitative regime is going to be in contradiction with any interference of consciousness outside of its control, because exploitation requires the dispute of human consciousness.

In short, substance abuse does not cause alienation, it is alienation that causes substance abuse. It is a classic inversion of values.