The chemical alteration of the brain.


[Maurizio Bisogno - introduction, second revision, 0817]

Why do most humans use substances that alter their state of the mind? Why do humans have this need to get intoxicated? Is it due to human nature or to the society in which they live? That is, is Man a being who seeks an escape from life itself or He escapes from a certain kind of life?

It is a fact of our condition as human beings: we seek the chemical alteration of mind and brain. In fact, it does not seem possible to imagine the life of man without painkillers, without caffeine or teine, without sedatives, without nicotine, without alcohol; A world without tranquillisers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, and many other chemicals that affect directly or indirectly the functions and structures of the brain. The best thing to do would be to know how best it is to control them and then to know how they act on our brain. Neuropsychiatry has started taking up this task a few decades ago.

But knowing how they act on us, perhaps, does not explain why we use them until we become addicted to them, that is until we can no longer do anything in our lives without them.

The problem becomes that of addictions and therefore that of our enchainment to the necessary intake of those chemicals.

One of the reasons that drives people to take chemicals that alter our mind is the desire to avoid pain. This latter is seen as something to avoid absolutely, not paying attention to the fact that without the experience of pain we would not be able to live. When we experience pain, the first thing we should do is to ask what is the cause, to eliminate the basis of pain, not the symptom, which is the pain itself. Instead, we first seek the suppression of the same pain with an artificial medium as a chemical that alters our perception. But pain serves the mind as well as survival. It serves to teach that the ‘I’ and the brain are not one thing. Pain has a function that affects all humans and in this sense can be addressed philosophically and not just as a disturbance to be eliminated with a drug or any other illegal or legal substance.

I have taken pain as an example because it immediately makes us understand the request to eliminate it through drugs: chemicals that act on the central nervous system and the brain. In fact, the escape concerns a much more general aspect of the human condition: we live in the realm of necessity and we do not know or do not want to live in the realm of freedom.

The question of necessity is related to work, wage labor as the most common means to meet recurrent and essential needs. It allows us to meet the needs of life. This also gives us a normative suggestion: if the wage serves the needs of life, whenever you try to buy, you must ask firmly: Is this expense necessary? If the answer is negative then you should not make that purchase.

The consciousness of the world of necessity is often expressed in the common expression "Life is tough" and is showing you can't do whatever you want and in your own way, whatever you may say about it. From the consciousness of necessities to work: an activity we choose to do when we are convinced that this solves our material needs. So far, we have not talked about the satisfaction that one derives from work, but of his role as a means to meet the basic material needs of life.

Wage labor depends on your commitment to go to the office every day, at the same hour, all year except for the vacation periods allowed. In essence, this gives you stability of wages and reduces the variety of life. Stability is a repetitive activity that produces a steady economic entry. Variety, however, is to face every day as a challenge. Wage labor also gives you the opportunity to offer your constant support to your family.

The pain, the necessities, the work, the work effort: these are the basics of living. We live in a society where all products of human activity must also be consumer goods. "Productive, manual or intellectual work has become the only respectable way of using one's life, and any activity that produces money is called productive."

Let us introduce the essence of value in this society: the money. The main purpose of wage labor is the wage. My individual freedom is circumscribed not only by my needs but also by my responsibilities. I am not free means that any of my situations, or contexts, is determined by necessity and responsibility, but above all by my choice of responding to them. Every activity of leisure or pleasure must take place within this facility; Any deviation from this scheme must not interfere with the triad: proper necessity-responsiveness-response. Necessity and responsibility are closely related to money, then the scheme becomes:

1. Go to work regularly

2. Avoid or reduce unnecessary expenses

3. Do not make debts or repay existing ones

4. Relationships must be maintained at a positive but superficial level.

Life is thus described in this way: it does not consist of distractions and entertainment, but it is a set of duties, especially when we assume our responsibilities towards others. In other words, life is governed by necessities (positive or negative), so you have to work to meet your essential needs, the needs of those who depend on you. Fun should always happen after you answer your responsibilities. This vision of life derives directly from my father's explicit teaching. Sex is included in this scheme, but it can be excluded if it interferes negatively; Otherwise, if it is to keep your balance, it fits well in the framework, provided it is safe and discreet.

This vision of life is not for everyone, in fact here comes the possibility of resorting to drugs, chemicals that alter our way of seeing the world, to flee from the hardness of life, to alienate ourselves from the perception of things in their crudity.

'Money is needed' simply means that we are limited- that we can not do without food, water, clothes, home, education. And, therefore, our existence depends on the satisfaction of material and mental needs.

'Money is needed' also means that the most common way to get them is work: for the vast majority of people work is the only way to get the money they need to survive.

What is the job? Ultimately, this is a transformation activity on behalf of an economic system. Our company is based on an extremely sophisticated exchange mechanism that can not do without work or money. In this system, making money without work succeeds to a few and doing what they like by earning money is a chimera for the vast majority. Work is a compulsion to do on behalf of third parties without any purpose other than that of earning a salary. But man is a lot more, and to stay in this cave must resort to means of distortion of raw reality: psychotropic legal or illegal substances.

These temporary escapes allow the reproduction of the scheme described above. Evasion and distraction from work routine in order to be able to return to work, so that you are able to work every day, and so you live reduced to a scheme and not the full complexity of being Man. To build pyramids, hundreds of thousands of men needed to survive for a single purpose whose existence was solved in everyday tasks prescribed by others and aimed at the realization of a goal that transcended individuals, the people themselves. From Man to slave. The slave is precisely that individual who has reduced his sphere of activity to a few precise and repetitive tasks, designated and imposed by others; moreover, outside of this sphere, its only activities are rest and satisfaction of physical elementary needs. Then the reduction of Man to a means, to an instrument, to a gear, without life itself. Psychotropics transform the perception of this condition, give the illusion, at least for an evening or a weekend, that things are different, that we are not slaves or wheels of a gear, but we have a "bigger life", more intense, more interesting, where we can also love and be loved, or we can forget about it. The pain here is the existential, deep pain; that pain that lasts, disappears for a while, but always returns.

Our society is sick, but we see only the weaker rings which break along the way or those that don’t function properly. Salvation is necessarily in reason and in love. The rest is nothing but chemical alteration of the brain and its functions. © Maurizio Bisogno

Ran Lahav
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