Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, by Thomas Szasz

By Thomas Szasz

Hardcover. eightvo. Blue and cream coloured fabric with illustrated airborne dirt and dust jacket. Dj representation via Edward Gorey. First variation. a few chipping and put on to edges of dj with small closed tear in backbone. minimum put on to board edges. Occassional pink pencil markings all through. Else, fresh and sound. solid to excellent.

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Extra resources for Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers

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3. "The Agency for International Development is helping build new roads into opium growing areas"--estensibly "to improve the access of alternative crops to markets," but perhaps more likely to improve the surveillance capabilities of the narcotics agents. This arrogant destruction of "alien" customs and ceremonies is, as crusades always are, carried out pitilessly, and only for the good of the victims themselves. "To the Yao residents of Nam Keung, a small settlement of bamboo and thatch houses perched on a bluff over the Mekong River, the controversy over opium seems incomprehensible and unfair.

In short, acceptance or non-acceptance of an identity between ceremonial symbol and ceremonial referent is a matter of membership in a community, and not a matter of fact or logic. This is not the place to examine whether and to what extent Christians throughout the ages believed in the literal identity, in the Eucharist, of bread and wine on the one hand and of the body and blood of Christ on the other; nor, indeed, would I be competent to undertake such an examination. It should suffice for us to note that one of the eftects on Christianity of the Reformation was to weaken the literal interpretation of this ritual.

The "answer," then, to our drug problem, insofar as one can meaningfully speak of such an answer, assuredly does not lie in bringing our drug laws in line with so-called scientific information. MEDICINE: THE FAITH OF THE FAITHLESS 37 It lies, instead, in demythologizing and de-ceremonializing our use and avoidance of drugs-something we are unlikely to accomplish without finding another, hopefully more humanly appropriate, vehicle for our symbolic coming together as a community of people. 4. CO:MMUNIONS, HOLY AND UNHOLY The human need for social contact, for a communion with others of one's own kind, is second only to the organismic need for the satisfaction of the biological requirements for survival.

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