This is one of those areas where we need to have an adult conversation. By that, I mean
one where we agree to look at the facts and remove the hysteria and political
manipulations and look at the facts.
I want to keep my promise to be very candid with you, and at the same time respect
those who disagree, as well as be sure to not send the wrong message to young people.
The first thing I want to say is that I do not believe it is appropriate to judge other
people for their activities unless it actually impacts me in a negative way, and then I
would only ask that they stop impacting me. I also believe it is appropriate for the
government to limit activities or products, if you will, that are harmful to an individual
based on science, not ideology.
I am not what some would call a "Darwinist", believing that we should allow
people to ingest drugs at their own peril, or thinking that some all chemicals are
innocuous to society.
I believe that any chemica or organic vice is actually a potentially undesireable
thing. Marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar... you name it, very often the effects
are the result of a response to poison. They trick your body's immune system into
responding in a certain way that makes you think you feel good, effects nerve centers and
such... but ultimately, it's a trick to your body. Good or bad.
That said, every civilization has had its vices. Like anything, anything can be abused,
anything can be harmful, but, generally, most vices simply provid occasional relief from
day to day tensions or are used in clebrations and rituals. And, like alcohol, some can
actually provide some beneficial effects to your body in a medicinal way.
While I see no problem with the use of some vices, I neither advocate/endorse or oppose
them. I believe it is a matter of personal choice, so long as I do not burden others by my
habits and others do not burden me.
I also believe that it's important to educate young people as to the hazards vs
intended benefits in a way that does not preach to them or forbid them, but informs them
in a way that allows them the choice to abstain or, at least choose to moderate their
activities in a way that does not harm them or others.
They should be informed about the symptoms of problems, and the assistance available if
it's needed. And they should be told the truth, because, after all, they will do what they
will do, and betraying their confidence will only cause them to distrust authority.
It's important for young people to understand that acknowledging how, as I did, as most
people do, experimenting and drinking and partying is fun, but the fact is that when
you're growing up, everything you do and experience shapes your view of the world.
That view inevitably determines your ability to accomplish goals in life, it allows you
to appreciate your life and your world in a way that empowers you to feel free to pursue
your passions, and gives you the ability to separate reality from illusion when evaluating
the obstacles that you meet, and the ways to resolve impasses in the normal course of
The abuse or overuse of anything that impairs your perceptions at a young age, during
the time when your view of the world is formed as the foundation for who you become in
life, can lead to a great deal of turmoil and internal suffering, as well as the
squandering of time, hopes and dreams.
When I was in my early teens in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was at the time of
hippies and the Haight-Ashbury, and I saw a lot of people having a good time. But I also
saw a lot of people damage their bodies and sacrifice their futures, even their lives,
over drugs and alcohol, seeking something outside themselves to make them feel better
about themselves and their world.
For a while, it seemed like every other week, someone would take LSD and come to the
conclusion that they were God, and throw themselves off a particular train tressel by the
boardwalk, thinking they could fly... and they would usually die.
There are many things that influence our views of the world; substances, people, abuse,
good and bad experiences, rejection and love. But right now, what I'm talking about
is drugs and alcohol, in particular. You may not have control of the world, but you
do have control over this. Your personal world.
I simply ask that you consider that even good things can be bad if used unwisely or
with ill intent.
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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV All rights