…the ancients knew a thing or two about drugs
…recognition of the fundamental, positive role played by drugs and ecstatic experience may run contrary to the negative bias shaped by the backlash against the counterculture of the 1960s. Thus far, we find no ancient evidence for hostility or stigmatization. Instead, drug use seems to have been an integral feature of community life, as well as an accepted way, on occasion, for some to shed societal constraints.
As for our skeptical colleagues, we would encourage them to start looking beyond the usual suspects to see in past Western civilizations an ancient world diverse in its beliefs, elastic in its practices, and exuberant in its celebrations of the human mind and spirit. We see no need to abandon the rationalist constructs so carefully maintained over the years, but instead to enrich them by placing them in a much broader context and—this is crucial—by acknowledging that they possess no immutable values of cultural superiority.
Original Article (The Nation):
From opium to saffron, the ancients knew a thing or two about drugs
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