Jorge Riechmann

In an interview in the magazine Cáñamo, when the Spanish poet Antonio Orihuela was asked why the left has often condemned the use of drugs as an alienating practice, he responded: “Perhaps due to the ideological puritanism from which class struggle has been approached since the 19th century. The working class, as opposed to the bourgeoisie, had to assume an antagonistic imaginary and, therefore, freed from all the ills of the bourgeoisie, among them drugs: although their consumption was prevalent among all social classes, they did not consume the same products. The crusade against alcohol and tobacco, among the anarchists, is a good example of this, as these substances were the most common among the proletariat. On the other hand, artificial paradises were seen as mechanisms to deactivate social struggle and evade reality, and therefore, should be considered the antipodes of the politically committed and combative worker. In my opinion, what’s missing in this way of thinking is that the first battle to be won was an internal one, against the construction of the self that we have assumed to be natural under capitalism. There is a need to understand that certain substances can also contribute to opening up reality, to transforming it and transforming ourselves, to decolonize our minds from the usual social constructs, from the spiritual side of things. They can also help give shape to the life we would prefer to live”. (Antonio Orihuela, “La vida en otra parte” (interview), Cáñamo 284, 2021; Criminalizing these entheogenic substances shows a serious inability to understand the human condition. Ah, if only the West had been more mature about the path of the sacred plants and mushrooms, following some the most interesting countercultural paths of the 1960s… Addressing the current socio-ecological crisis requires deep changes in the psyche of many people (especially in the societies and social sectors of the global North), which we sometimes evoke with the Greek word metanoia. For this kind of profound transformation, the research that is gathered on the Microcosms website can serve as a spur, encouragement and a guide. Jill Pflugheber and Steven F. White are to be congratulated for their initiative.

Jorge Riechmann, Department of Philosophy, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.

Similar Posts