Science in Christian Perspective
AMERICAN CULTURE AND DRUG USE
GEORGE J. JENNINGS
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL
From: JASA 20 (December 1968): 104-114.
The use of drugs to produce temporal euphoric states has a long history among many different cultures. Various mind-altering drugs are increasingly used by Americans with the greatest increment in use among middle class youths in high schools and colleges. The motivations for ingesting potentially dangerous drugs are complex although initial efforts have been made to identify and analyze why people are susceptible to using drugs considered harmful. Undoubtedly the motivations are psychological, sociological, and anthropological with resultant habituation sometimes becoming physiological. The effort in this paper is to employ the culture concept as defined in anthropology to suggest several causal factors such as family disintegration and religions ambiguity.
Psychedelic drug use and consequences are common topics in the news media for
the use is increasingly a disturbing feature in contemporary American culture
but the phenomenon is neither novel in the twentieth century nor
limited to American
life (Walton, 1938; Masters and Houston, 1966). Evidently
mindchanging drugs have
been known and used since antiquity with both primitive and civilized
visionary experiences from plants worshipped as deities who endowed the users
with supernatural powers. Frequently the so-called psychedelic drug-producing
plants have been associated with magico-religious cults wherein the
and priests, achieved ecstatic states with accompanying charisma by consuming
the "visionary vegetables."
The Chinese emperor Shen Neng mentions usage of the hemp plant (Cannabis indiea or Cannabis sativa)
as early as 2737b.c. Eight centuries before Christ, the Assyrians used a hemp derivative such as hashish or marijuana and three centuries later the Scythians sought drug-induced experiences from the same sources. India has used hemp derivatives to produce visions and heightened concentration, that is, a hallucinogenic state, for hundreds of years as an aid to spiritual attainment by the cults of holy men. Drugs continue to be used widely in the Orient to achieve mystical states and thus provide escape from intolerable reality by those who lack contemplative dedication and patient concentration essential to successful yoga. In Islamic cultures where alcoholic beverages are prohibited among the faithful, the widespread use of hashish offers relief and escape even though its use is at the expense of the mental health of some users. Hemp use is common among Negro cultures in Africa with reports of dire consequences where, apart from its provision of supernatural powers to witch doctors, its effects among the native masses range from intoxicated stupor to orgiastic frenzy.
Pre-Columbian Mexico had a number of plants containing psychoactive agents. After conquering the people and discovering their use of the potent plants, Cortex ordered Aztec records destroyed so habits of drug use are known to us principally from the pious. attacks made by Spanish friars upon the pagan practices which
included plant use by Aztec priests for visionary communication with the gods of their pantheon. One of the plants used has been identified as the white-flowered morning glory, Ricea corynibosa, whose effects to the user are similar to those produced by LSD. The Aztecs also had a sacred mushroom, teonanacatl ("flesh of god"), which is the potent Psilocybe rnexicana, a drug source in continued use today by curanderas and curanderos (female and male shamans or curers) who synthetize native beliefs with Christian elements in their healing chants and practices. These Mazatecs contend that the plant is a gift from Christ enabling them to communicate directly with Him when in a state induced by psilocybin. Psilocybin, first synthesized in 1958 by the Swiss chemist, Hofmann, has become widely used as one of the most powerful of the hallucinogenic drugs.
Another drug source known in Mexico is peyote, Lophophora williamsi, which is a cactus plant containing mescaline, a psychoactive alkaloid that stimulates vivid imagery so common to the cultists today in the Indian religious movement called the Native American Church. Peyote usage for magico-religious purposes began as early as the third century before Christ, but it was not until 1560 that the Spanish friar and historian Sahagun described the plant as a narcotic. The Spaniards denounced it as diabolical and suppressed its use in most of Mexico except in the north where, in the nineteenth century, its use was adopted as a basic feature in a religious syncretism of native beliefs and Christianity. The cult captured the imagination of neighboring Indian tribes in the United States and it diffused among tribes throughout the central and western states until at present peyotism is the most popular religion among American Indians (LaBarre, 1938; Slotkin, 1956).
Other mind-altering drugs include the mushroom. fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), the Solanaccae family of drugs of which the Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium) and the henbanes are common. All of these are highly toxic but many people have developed techniques that enable the users to remove the poisonous elements. The fly agaric has been used for centuries among the Siberian aborigines as an inebriant and the shamans consume considerable amounts to induce visionary states to accompany their frenzied performances. Datura and the henbanes were known to the ancient Greeks who possibly used the drugs to achieve a mental state in which they were possessed by the god. More recently the Solaeaceae family of drugs were used in connection with European witchcraft to the extent that a Witch mania occurred from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. The witches in taking the drugs experienced dreams and visions in which they participated in frenzied orgies and blasphemous, diabolical rites (Masters, 1962). These experiences were so vivid and realistic to the participants that many confessed to the Inquisitors to what they were convinced was factual.
Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as LSD-25 or simply LSD, is a recent addition to the list of mind-affecting drugs. It is a synthesized derivative of the fungus ergot, Claeiceps purpurea, and ranks with psilocybin as one of the most powerful psychochemicals. The Swiss chemist, Hofmann, did not discover the hallucinogenic properties of the drug until 1943. While the LSD state is rarely a bona fide psychosis, it does have symptomatic features commonly encountered among psychotics. Under LSD the individual may experience a variety of hallucinations, delusions, abnormal body sensations, time and space distortions, and other deviations from normal consciousness. Controversy exists as to the result of various studies about LSD effects but it seems that despite its demonstrated potential in psychotherapy it is considered dangerous with possible harmful results. Dr. Marvin Schwartz, a faculty member in the medical school at the University of Illinois, reported that the treatment of nine young suburban users within one year revealed, from cytogenic tests, chromosome damage in every case. It is still too early, commented Schwartz, to predict possible defects in the children of those suffering chromosomal damage (Chicago's American, May 22, 1968). Basing his conclusion on a larger sample, Dr. Maimon M. Cohen, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of human genetics at the State University of New York in Buffalo, reported that an examination of 220 LSD users revealed chromosomal breakage in from seventy to eighty per cent, or a rate four times as great as in normal persons. "Recent work indicates that quite apart from its effect on the brain, LSD is a drug which can, in some cases, have lasting psychological and possibly serious physiological effects on other organs" (Chicago Tuinune, April 11, 1968).
These brief selective references to mind-affecting drugs are obviously inadequate for presenting the variety' of drugs used, the culture of the users, and the history associated with drugs. The writer plans an analytic treatment of such a study which falls outside the scope and purpose of the present paper. It is our purpose at the moment to focus attention on cultural factors causing drug use and addiction among a cultural group who enjoy unusual affluence with associated technological achievements and conveniences. The motivational pattern evidently is rather complex but must be delineated if ameliorative policies are to be instituted to contain a cancerous growth in American culture.
Motivations in drug use
Blum and associates conducted a study among five sample groups of LSD users whom they categorize as "the informal professional sample," "the experimental subject sample," "the therapy-patient sample," "the informal black-market sample," and "the religious-medical center sample" (1964:22-37). In response to their question as to why individuals in the different samples began using LSD, the "experimental-subject" users responded that they were motivated by curiosity, the same reason that sparked the "informal professional" group. The "therapy-patient" people stated that they took the drug in an effort to obtain a cure for a particular psychological problem and did so at their doctor's suggestion. The motivation reported by the "religious-medical-center" individuals was usually in quest of "self-knowledge" which they attempted to explain with such words as "sell-expanding" and "becoming." The "informal black-market" persons identify the motive as the desire for aesthetic enhancement coupled with self-enhancement and curiosity in search for a new euphoric state.
While it is obvious that psychotherapy patients take drugs in conforming to medical advice to remove psychological problems, it is curious that Blum and associates discovered that these patients believed that they lived ordinary lives without extremes of elation or depression. The informal black-market sample represented the youngest individuals taking LSD but more significant is the fact they they did not take the drug because of deprivation but stated rather that they were motivated from a desire "to enhance an already pleasurable state of being rather than a desperate need to escape misery" (Blum, et al., 1964:41).
Barron raises the motivation question unequivocally when he asks: "Why on earth would a drug that profoundly affects consciousness and the efficiency of mental functioning in ways that are difficult to predict and that are potentially dangerous to the person who uses it become popular, especially among the young, the well educated and those who are well chanced in life?" (1967:3). As a preliminary comment before an swering his own question, he assesses the historical factors leading to uncertainty and cultural ambiguity among American youth wherein the youth fail to commit themselves to traditional values and against which they engage in deviant behavior as a protest to culture values that seem irrelevant or meaningless. Hence Barroil's suggested answer rests ultimately upon a pervading dissatisfaction most strikingly apparent among youth who challenge contemporary American culture for its failure to provide them satisfaction in goal orientation. We will return to an analysis of culture after some examination of Barren's "salient motivations" in the use of LSD (1967:9-12).
Barrio's first motivation relates to "Persons interested in the experience primarily for reasons of aesthetic appreciation or expression. In essence the idea here is that our socio-cultural milieu fosters a blasemarked populace to the extent that there is consequent monotony associated with technological conveniences readily available leaving man with a desperate quest for something novel and stimulating. Audio-visual media, effortless mobility, and incessant communication have made most experiences commonplace and this commonality is aggravated by occupational specialization wherein most people are seldom confronted with challenging, unsolved problems in relation to most of their total environment. The permissive and bestowing pattern characterizing most American parents provides little opportunity for their children to experience stimulating excitement in discovering some solution that relates to a meaningful life. Hallucinogenic drugs compensate for this cultural drabness by intensifying perception, altering the time sense, magnifying detail, and increasing the volume of imagery; in short, the drugs enable the individual to escape the routine of a culture marked with surfeit in experiences.
"Persons interested primarily in religious experience" is Barrio's second salient motivation. Anthropologists have observed that people in American culture are not unique in their quest for an ecstatic state with transcendent meaning in relation to the supernatural world. The opening comments of this paper indicated this widespread desire. What is strikingly different in this quest between satiated persons in American culture and other cultures is that the former have increasingly resorted to psychoactive chemicals to achieve these states while others attain a transcendent condition by fasting, physical suffering, or rigorous contemplation (Bogoras, 1965:454-460; Lowie, 1956:237255; Noss, 1963:273-275). This motivational factor assumes such importance in the thinking of the author that extended discussion will follow later in this paper.
The third motivation cited is "Persons seeking a cure for alcoholism." While admitting that alcoholic addicts do resort to psychedelic drug treatment in hope to effect an escape from their dilemma, this motivating factor is of secondary importance for it avoids the primary consideration as to why the alcoholic became an addict in the first place. Our contention is that fundamental culture factors are at play in creating al coholic and/or drug addiction. In his study of alcohol and culture, Mandelbaum cites Horton's views on the functions of alcohol among primitives with special note of the latter's conclusion that the amount of alcohol consumed correlated positively with anxiety created by various cultural circumstances (1965:287). From this and similar studies we may assume that anxiety contributes to alcoholic addiction in America; as a matter of fact the psychoanalyst, Karen Homey makes this quite explicit when she observes that our culture is anxiety ridden to the point of neurosis. She has discovered that a common means to alleviating anxiety is "to narcotize it. This may be done consciously and literally by taking to alcohol or drugs" (1937:52). One need not dismiss the fact that psychedelic drugs used in psychotherapy under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner shows some promise as a remedial means, but therapeutic use of drugs for alcoholism or mental disturbances takes its somewhat afield from the present consideration and will not be pursued.
Barron's next motivational factor is stated thus: "Persons seeking relief from personal psychological problems of a neurotic sort." Again this causal factor avoids ultimate impetus for, as in the case of alcoholic addiction, the psychological disturbance has some cause in the first place and must be diagnosed if therapeutic drug prescription is to effect enduring cure. The use of LSD or similar drugs is not motivated directly from self-impulse or desire but arises in consent] to prescription by a practitioner who has gained the patient's confidence and compliance. Our interest from the cultural perspective is to inquire beyond the neurosis to the primary forces at play. We have already indicated that this study cannot address itself to drug use for therapy although we can note that Masters and Houston have summarized the controversy existing in relation to hallucinogenic drugs in psychotherapy. The evidence leads them to the generalization that drug use is beneficial in those cases where a drug-induced catharsis leads to the exposure of repressed memories and enables the patient to gain confrontation with his "real self" (1966).
The next motivation cited by Barron follows logically the one just discussed; it is that "Seriously disturbed
persons" have reached extreme potentially suicidal or psychotic..." The motivation in this case is an act of desperation which leads them to try mind-altering drugs as the last resort to escape suicidal urges by what they hope will be a "break through" to a regenerative perspective in life, Turning to LSD or similar drugs may fail in these cases with deplorable results for the drug state may actually aggravate their chaotic psychic condition to the point that they do commit suicide. Incidentally these cases are exploited by the popular news media and inaccuracies are conveyed to the naive who are unaware of the psychic state of the person prior to his resorting to a drug. It is quite certain that a qualified psychotherapist would not prescribe psychedelic drugs for the treatment of such cases. At the risk of boring the reader, the author doggedly insists that motivation in
such cases is secondary and to confine our attention to this cause is to avoid coming to grips with the factors at play in producing psychosis.
"Persons who are chronic social delinquents" is listed by Barron as the sixth motivation for drug use. These persons' are in revolt against their society and culture and use drugs as a retaliatory means to demonstrate their revolt. While admitting that Barron may be correct in citing this as a cause, we must again take issue on the basis that the why of delinquency remains unanswered but must be considered if remedial steps are to be taken. Why are there "sociopaths" who often resort to drug use? In a cultural analysis of these cases, we believe it is imperative to seek for those elements in the individual's enculturation or socialization process that caused him to fail in acquiring moral and ethical appreciation and social responsibility. Our chain of thought goes thus: if condition C (the use of drugs) is the result of condition B (social delinquency), we have sidestepped the preliminary condition A which we contend is a complex of factors that may be abstracted 'in the concept of the individual's culture. Our question then persists: What are the culture factors at play in causing many people, especially privileged youth, in American life to use dangerous mind-affecting drugs?
The Culture Concept
To answer the question that relates drug use to culture, it may be helpful to elucidate the culture concept as held in anthropological thought. Culture is a term used widely but proves to be a difficult concept to define as the two noted anthropologists, Kroeber and Kluckhohn, emphasized in their effort some years ago (1963). After listing many definitions under such categories as descriptive, historical, normative, psychological, structural, genetic, and others, they concluded that:
"Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behavior acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievement of human groups, including their embodiments in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e., historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditioning elements of further action" (1963:337).
An analysis of the implications contained in this somewhat complex definition would take us far afield therefore we shall select certain phrases that may satisfactorily clarify the culture concept as it relates to the present paper. It seems clear that culture constitutes behavioral patterns characteristic of human societies. These "ways of life" or "designs for living" are dynamic with alterations occurring at varying rates and which result from such factors as invention, diffusion, and ecology. As a culture develops it is significant that within the patterned behaviors there are key influential relationships that affect members of the system. When accelerated change occurs, the culture structure may be weakened with adverse effects to the members undergoing acculturation or enculturation. The result is deviance from culture values or norms by those con fused by the seemingly erratic behavior and capricious value attitudes of innovators.
A society's culture includes many institutions such as the family, kinship, religion, education, economy, political organization, law, art, and others. All of these play some role in the enculturative process, and, if marked by integration and interrelational harmony, the individual acquires confidence in his interdependence and interaction with fellow members in his culture. He can expect or predict certain reactions from his fellows indicated by cues in a symbolic system. In contrast when change disrupts the system and destroys consistency in the behavior patterns, the member becomes uncertain not knowing what to expect and is fearful of interactional consequences with resultant anxiety. This briefly is the relevant and poignant implications of culture and change with their influence upon members in a society. A great diversity of patterns exists in a large society characterized by a complex culture such as America, hence on the basis of certain culture traits the large complex whole may be segmented into classes or groups which are commonly referred to as subcultures which share certain traits with the larger society but are distinguished by secondary traits. such as economic status or religious affiliation.
It is immediately evident that culture is an abstraction even as such concepts as society and economy are. Therefore to conclude that culture influences individuals is merely a convenient mode for referring to the fact that individuals characterized with certain attitudes, emotions, and behaviors influence other individuals. One must remember however that culture means shared traits hence in influencing another, the individual is to a considerable degree reflecting the attitudes and behavior that are normative in his culture. This is asserting that there is a relationship between a person's culture and his personality. We need not subscribe to extreme cultural determinism in our conclusion that culture is a molding force to its members for each individual is unique due in part to the fact that he exercises choice within the latitudinal boundaries of his culture. Allport supports this conclusion with these words:
"Culture is indeed a major condition in becoming. Yet personal integration is always the more basic fact ... Some elements in our culture we reject altogether; many we adopt as more opportunistic habits, and even those elements that we genuinely appropriate we refashion to fit our own personal style of life. Culture is a condition of becoming but it is not the full stencil" (quoted in Goodman, 1967:13).
It is common knowledge that the most forceful traditional agents for enculturation in America are the family, the school, and the Church. Now in the twentieth century the trend seems to be toward increasing influence by the peer group and formal education with a decline of molding force by a weakening family and an equivocating Church. The dynamic factors affecting the family, the school, and the Church are not limited to any one segment of American culture for, as Hoebel writes that despite diverse backgrounds of immigrants, the wide range in beliefs from atheism to devout evangelicalism, and the broad spectrum of interests in terms
of occupation, recreation, and education, there is a recognizable American world view (1966:498-500). Within this world view, Hoebel sees a number of major themes one of which is appropriate to our consideration because it has greatly influenced change in the three enculturative institutions. Hoebel labels this theme "rationalism and the mechanistic view" by which he means that American thought patterns are dominated by rationalism rather than mysticism, and the "operative conception of the universe is mechanistic." This rational-mechanistic view is overwhelmingly a mystie-vitalistie view with action rather than contemplation taking precedence. This action orientation in turn leads to an "emphasis upon technology and science rather than upon philosophy and the arts." In the end Americans who live in an impersonal, industrialized and urbanized culture made possible by technology and science are threatened by accompanying socio-cultural phenomena with dire consequences. The family and the Church have felt the full impact of this world view and, in the opinion of this writer, reflect a vulnerability in the youth with their behavioral deviances including drug use and habituation.
Before directing our attention to contemporary conditions marking the American family and religion, we may profitably explore briefly the stimulating insight into culture by the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud. We need not indiscriminately subscribe to all of Freud's conclusions in his work entitled Civilization and Its Discontents where he emphasizes the effects of repression on the individual. In fact Marcuse has examined Freud's thinking and agrees that there is both repression originating in the individual (ontogenesis) and in cultures (phylogenesis) (1962). Repression, according to Marcuse's interpretation of Freud, may be considered a nontechnical term referring to both conscious and unconscious processes of restraint and suppression. It is generally granted that Freud's proposition is correct in that culture rests upon the subjugation of human instincts, but the nation that there is intolerable suffering incurred by individuals for the benefit of culture is not to be taken too seriously. Free gratification of human instinctual needs is incompatible with a cultural system whether that system be considered primitive or civilized. No culture can long tolerate uninhibited expression of aggression manifested in homicide, sex, or other forms of exploiting one's fellows. The social consequences are disorganization and chaos. This fact has been demonstrated by many studies in the field of cultural dynamics where changes in culture have disrupted the system for a time only to be followed by an emergent system exercising new forms of restraint (Spicer, 1952).
Freud's emphasis upon repression assumes validity for this study when the fact is recognized that, while all cultures impose restrictions on their members, the significance of the restraints is more apparent among the so-called primitive or folk cultures, while the complex and urbanized American culture with its eontraetural relationships impose controls that tend to be much more obscure in terms of the control's relevance to human survival and satisfaction. Thus the imposition of limitations on entertainment or recreation sources by parents with puritanical traditions on their children may be difficult to enforce let alone to defend these restraints with a reasonable and meaningful explanation. There is a formidable array of suppressions in a complex culture but these tend to be accepted unless, as in the American ease, the culture is undergoing dramatic change where there is a perpetuation of restraints formerly meaningful and relevant but are now obscure and even irrelevant. The consequence of what may be called a repressive anachronism is that institutional supervision is rejected by those who seek subconscious retaliation by delinquent behavior including drug use. Freud's "discontents" are readily observed therefore among the restive youth seeking meaning to life through the psychedelic experience as well as in the "hippie" movement and, in drastic cases, the revolt against the controls of institutionalized education occurring on college campuses (Time, May 3, 1968, pp. 24-25).
With these comments on culture in general, we can now direct our attention to an analysis of two institutions critical to integrative functioning in every culture. The two institutions are the family and religion both of which are in a state of flux in American culture to the degree that their effectiveness is sharply curtailed.
The American Family Crisis
"The family of the last few decades has grown ever more unstable, until it has reached the point of actual disintegration" is the pessimistic conclusion offered by Sorokin (1941:188). While such a judgment is open to challenge as it has been by some scholars, it is quite apparent that the American family has undergone alteration from a relatively close-knit group marked by parental authority to a loose, atomistic arrangement that frequently ends in divorce or by the desertion of a parent. Zimmerman's gloomy summary written two decades ago may be extreme but it cannot be ignored.
"The western world has entered a period of demoralization comparable to the periods when both Greece and Rome turned from growth to decay. Divorce, premarital sex experience, promiscuity, homosexuality, versatility in sex, birth control carried to excess, spread of birth control to every segment of the population, positive antagonism to parenthood, clandestine marriage, migratory divorce, marriage for sex alone, contempt for familism . . all are increasing rapidly" (1947:632).
This interpretation is not unique for it is shared with other scholars who compare the western family with those in non-western cultures. For example Ruth Anshen, in her introductory chapter to a book devoted to cross-cultural comparison of families, provides a penetrating resume of recurring crises and repeated chaos marking the western family (1959). She links the decline of the family with a deterioration of philosophy, morality, and religion in western culture while contending that similar family crises have not occurred in other great civilizations such as China and India where concepts of morality and ethics were maintained by recognizing religious authority.
Anshen also traces the philosophical roots of the dissolution of family values in post Hellenistic society that was consequent to an emphasis upon the individual. She notes that Plutarch, writing in the New Testament period, points out that the moral virtues supporting the Helenistie society and family had disappeared. "Fidelity, chastity, the begetting and rearing of children, the loyalty of man to man-in short, moral integrity-had been dissipated in every stratum of Greek society" (Anshen, 1959:11). This was the inevitable result of extolling the atomistic quality in society with individual isolation. Anshen believes that like tragic consequences are apparent in the American family stemming from the relative isolation of its members. The Roman family, after passing through a state similar to that in the Homeric and Hesiodic periods, reproduced in facsimile the early Greek family history and became a prototype of the decadence in the modern family demoralized by wealth, ease, hedonism. The Christian church succeeded in restoring stable family structure to the western world for centuries during which time the family became a vehicle of cultural stabilization and bestowed upon the individual member freedom and security. This ideal has been disappearing from modern western culture at an accelerating pace.
In contemporary American culture motherhood has been reduced to a "science"-a mere technique which robs the individual of certain indispensable, integrating influences which earlier served as a cohesive force in society. The following statement by Anshen in summarizing the dire consequences needs no comment.
"The child, confronted with the collective, anonymous forces of an industrialized social order, finds himself isolated, insecure, and manifesting an ensuing disintegration of conscience and consciousness. Sexual relations are dominated by social expediencies. The sacrament of marriage, constituting a reconciliation of nature and civilization, is contaminated by erotic excesses and prostitution. Marriage degenerates into a cachet of social sanctions, a mere utilitarianism, an instrument of conformity in the mechanism of society. Instinctual and intuitional love, moral integrity, religious needs, the very spiritual substance of man are all constantly adapted to the demands of a pragmatic culture, and the processes of civilization reveal the frustrations routed in this tendency" (1959:19).
It is axiomatic that the family plays a predominant role in personality formation. General agreement prevails among scholars likewise that this familial influence is maximized during the early years of childhood, or to quote Goodman: "By age six, or thereabout, the child's personality will have assumed enduring contours. Later experiences will develop detail within these contours, perhaps alter them to some or a considerable degree. However, these later developments must occur either within or against the early configuration" (1968: 178).
Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychoanalysts have explored the dynamic process in personality formation in the child and have detected the imperative need of acceptance and affection if the child is to attain satisfactory mental health in later life. Bowlby emphasizes how important affectionate care is to normal child maturation in his article "Child Care and the Growth of Love" (Krieh, 1960:118-127).
His analysis is unequivocal when he insists that the child, even in infancy, senses hypocrisy in parents whose marital and parental relationships rest upon sexual or social expediency rather than emotional attachment and compatibility. Bowlby's conclusions are supported by considerable evidence amassed from sociological, psychiatric, and psychoanalytic research (1966). Perhaps his views are somewhat vitiated by an over emphasis on the maternal-child dyad, but it seems unreasonable to dismiss his evidence that links mental disturbances and delinquency to "maternal deprivation." One of Bowlby's key statements is:
"Evidence that the deprivation of mother-love in early childhood can have far-reaching effects on the mental health and personality development of human beings comes from many sources . . . Such evidence is disquieting, but skeptics may question whether the retardation is permanent and whether the symptoms of illness may not easily be overcome. The restrospective and follow-up studies make it clear that such optimism is not always justified and that some children are gravely damaged for life. This is a somber conclusion which must now he regarded as established" (1966:15).
The neglect of children tends to be aggravated among families marked by socio-economic disadvantages hence the incidence of delinquency is higher in slum and ghetto areas. The combination of parental indifference, for whatever reason, and socio-economic deprivation produces children whose orientation is toward delinquency accompanied by moods of pessimism, unhappiness, a sense of futility, mistrust, negativism, defiance, and a manipulative attitude to exploit life. Chein and his associates discovered however that, even in depressed urban settings where drug habituation is high, those with more fortunate family circumstances were not among the drug users (1964:13). In contrast according to this same study, the home life of addicts is conducive to the development of disturbed personalities. In the homes of those addicted to drugs, parental harmony and affection were absent with separation, divorce, desertion, overt hostility, or lack of warmth quite apparent. The parents were uncertain about the standards of behavior expected from the children and inconsistent in the application of discipline; the children tended to be over-indulged or harshly frustrated.
But drug use and habituation is not confined to delinquent youth from disadvantaged homes as reported by Chein and his associates. Increasing numbers of users are members in families of the middle and upper classes. We may then ask the question concerning the family rapport or esprit de corps when the family circumstances cannot be included among those marked by social and economic deprivation. Most social scientists hold that the middle class family is typical in American society, therefore Raab and Selznick's analysis of the modern family may be accepted as fair reference to the typical American family (1964:310-11). They compare the closelyknit rural family, formerly predominant in America, with the present urban family. The unity of beliefs and attitudes characteristic of the highly integrated and interdependent rural family have been replaced by individualism and atomization in the urbanized home. Divorce and delinquency reflect family disharmony and tension while contemporary family life fails to win the affection of the youth and to inculcate positive values and self-discipline essential to satisfactory participation in society. The revolt of youth is no longer restricted to disadvantaged homes for even the best situated families find it difficult to control their children.
The theory then that is proposed in an analysis of American culture is that the fragmentation of the family, including affectionate deprivation, is a contributing factor to increasing drug use among youth. This conclusion correlates with Louria's recommendation that an effective attack on hallucinogen abuse includes restrictive laws to control illicit sale and possession, education, and "strengthening the family unit" (1967:45. Italics added). He argues that family life with cohesion and affection will produce youth free from insecurity and will enable the young people to acquire stability in personality to withstand the lure of drug proselyters.
Granted that family unity is highly desirable and imperative to combat the threat of drug use among youth, the problem centers about how to restore harmony, common beliefs and attitudes, and affection to the American family. Bowlby suggests that a revitalized family relationship is dependent on economic, social, and medical factors (1966:84). The deterioration in the American middle class family refutes Bowlby's argument for there is no actual economic lack, social deprivation, or medical neglect in the overwhelming majority of these typical families. The question therefore remains: How can the contemporary family gain stabilization with mutually-shared objectives and values including love that together are conducive for congenial child rearing? It seems certain that familial warmth and affection cannot be effected by legislation or even by economic aid to those who are poverty stricken. Education, which has become an obsession to the point of apotheosis in Western culture, seems to offer possibilities but, on second thought, it is involved in controversy as to objectivity and subjectivity in the treatment of values. The unanswered question among educational leaders is whether education is to be analytic, evaluative, or directive. One needs only to recall that Germany prior to World War II was recognized as most prestigous in educational realms but its educational goals failed to prevent the consequent cataclysm and fiasco. Furthermore drug use is not a problem rising from illiterate families; it has become a matter of grave concern as the result of its use and addiction among those enjoying unusual educational advantages.
We must therefore direct our attention to other cultural factors to find answers to the drug dilemma with the hope that in discovering the cause we can also snake prescription for effective cure. The traditional association of the American ethos with its system of values has been in the mystical or supernatural realm of religion which Tillich has aptly described as the ultimate concern of man. A consideration of causal factors in harmful drug use in American culture would he futile and inaccurate without exploring the spiritual heritage and contemporary situation which involves most members of our society.
The Spiritual Vacuum in Western Culture
The literature devoted to examining the religious heritage, development, change, diversity, and decline is overwhelming with scholars from practically the entire spectrum of learned disciplines contributing their insights and interpretations of what religion has or has not meant to Western culture. The problem therefore is one of selection on the basis of what, in this author's opinion, represents an accurate and valid description. Undoubtedly any selection will be subject to objection and criticism by the very fact that such diverse views are held in relation to a controversial subject and which are held with considerable emotion by those interested. We must not however allow the reality of opposition or disagreement to deter us from an effort to see if spirituality, or its lack, has some correlation with conditions fostering drug use.
The philosophical psychotherapist, Carl C. Jung, gives considerable attention to analyzing modern man's ineffectual spiritual state which, Jung believes after long experience in treating persons with mental problems, is due to a decline in religions force and emphasis in western man's life. In his work, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Jung epitomizes much of his thinking in a chapter entitled "The Spiritual Problems of Modern Man" and offers suggestions to this writer's consideration of the cultural role in man's quest for spiritual euphoria by means of abnormal psychological states (1933:196-220). Jung uses the term "conscious" and "unconscious" in a technical manner which must be understood in order to appreciate the thrust of his observations. He states that modern or western man is one who is quite "conscious" of the present to the point that man's interests, emphasis, and efforts are directed to the immediate circumstances. What this means is, if we understand Jung's thinking, that man has removed himself from the context of a "common unconsciousness" which has characterized most of mankind throughout human history. This focus on the conscious with abandonment of the unconscious leaves man without spiritual moorings necessary to normalcy in mental health.
This conceptualization readily adapts itself to the culture concept as held by anthropologists. By such adaptation we may conclude that modern man is in revolt against the very thing that is essential to mental stability and normalcy, that is, the culture content of which we are not conscious or aware but which provides to the individual the sense of meaning and satisfaction. Thus the ethnographer may pose the following question to a primitive: Why do you think that this is true? And the response typically is: Because we have always so thought. The primitive has little interest in questioning the present in his conviction that the present is fused with the past and the future. Modern man has little interest in the values and strivings of past cultures except from the historical standpoint with its superficial attention to exotic customs of bygone eras. "Thus he has become 'unhistorical' in the deepest sense and has estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely within the bounds of tradition." In repudiating the historical context, western man is marked by the loneliness with its associated meaninglessness; lie has cut himself adrift from vital cultural moorings for aimless wandering on the waters of uncertainty.
This somber phenomenon relates directly to the necessity of spiritual reality for one of the most venerable traditional views held by man is that he possesses a soul with an eternal destiny. The soul has been viewed as the immortal essence of man in the western world for millenia (Jennings, 1967). Twentieth century secularists have challenged the soul concept in dealing with the larger question about the reality of the supernatural realm. The consequence of this skepticism by western man is that he must rely upon himself in the face of apparent impotence. He denies the fundamental notion in spiritual or religious beliefs; this focal idea is that of dependence upon resources beyond those that have proven to be futile and frustrating. This position is quite different to that held by medieval man who held that men were children of Cod and under the loving care of the Most High who readied human creatures for eternal blessedness. Man knew then precisely the manner of conduct by which they could overcome a corruptible world while possessing a relatively high degree of contentment to stabilize their personality with its convictions and emotional configuration. The assumption was that the Bible was the infallible guide to a knowledge of Cod, to man's relationship to Cod through faith in Jesus Christ, and to conduct with fellow man.
As a segment of western culture, Americans have called into question the mystical certainties held by western man a few centuries ago and have replaced these verities with the ideals of material security, general welfare, and humaneness. The spiritual heritage has been replaced by scientific and technological materialism. One cannot deny the beneficial contributions of science-a visit to a modern hospital is most convincing
-but the apotheosis of science or scientism has destroyed the sanctuary of spiritual reality to which man could retreat when confronted with overwhelming circumstances. Materialism, enhanced by scientism, has increasingly permeated western man's world view to the point that relatively few thinkers today subscribe to a cautionary assertion made two thousand years ago: "For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world at the price of his own soul? What could a man offer to buy back his soul once he had lost it?" (Matthew 16:26, Phillips version). Modern man has exchanged faith in spiritual postulates for a faith in scientific propositions and in rejecting the former he believes that existential circumstances are the sole source for ultimate validity.
Now in the grip of this secularistic world view, modern man may be interested in the observation of a so-called primitive man who stands apart from this position. Jung relates the confidential evaluation of the white man by a Pueblo Indian who confessed, "We don't understand the whites; they are always wanting something-always restless always looking for something. What is it? We don't know. We can't understand them. They have such sharp noses, such thin cruel lips, such lines in their faces. We think they are all crazy" (1933:213). This perceptive insight notes the aggravated restlessness and aimlessness of those lacking the certainties of spiritual values. Or for many who identify with Christianity their profession lacks dynamic application to a creative wholeness essential to giving faith meaningfulness. An ancient Islamic axiom sums up modern man's predicament: "A roan without belief in God is like a drunken man with a sword."
Religion, the acknowledgment of human limitations and ultimate dependence, is universal in all cultures. No attempt can be made within the scope of the present paper to demonstrate the "truth" of any religion other than to confess that the author identifies positively with evangelical Christianity. The question of the "truth" or "falseness" of any religion is. voided by anthropologists but there is agreement that whatever the religion it performs functions in human cultures that no other institution seems to be able to do (Lessa and Vogt, 1965:41-88). Even ardent scientists admit that ultimately there are limitations to scientific nature by the very fact that the practitioners are fallible. Lowie, in reflecting along this line of thought toward the close of a life marked by brilliant scientific studies of man, concluded that the "average man" cannot be satisfied with science as a substitute for religion. Science, he believed, is a dynamic and developing phenomenon with great opportunities but which ultimately cannot replace religion as a source of peace and security. Science deals with probabilities, religion with certainties (Lowie, 1963).
These extended comments on religion may seem to have taken us from the central theme under consideration, but it is an effort to emphasize that modern Americans have rejected spiritual forces. The result is uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that underlie the institutional structure of the culture. In a state of limbo, Americans seek to discover existential havens or meaningful experiences by various means including those offered by hallucinogenic drugs. Frequently drug induced states are considered to be religious experiences so it is logical to give attention to this phenomenon.
The Peyote Cult is an excellent example of drug use to effect religious experiences. Slotkin, formerly a member and officer in the Native American Church or the Peyote Cult, points out that the central feature of this syncretism of native beliefs and Christianity is the hallucinatory state induced by ingesting peyote with its mescaline ingredient (1956). The Peyotists contend that in the drug-induced state they receive spiritual power and power for appropriate and satisfying behavior for each earnest participant. By observing the rite properly, the individual's sensibility is heightened either in reference to himself (introspection) or to others (mental telepathy). The introspection is an intensive self-evaluation which leads to silent or vocal prayer to God, confession of sins, repentance, and consecration to the Peyote ethic in the future. The heightened sensibility toward others contributes to a feeling that there is mutual influence between persons by their thoughts. Glossolalia sometimes occurs in this mental telepathic state (Jennings, 1968:13). The Peyote Cult is of course not a feature in the main stream of American culture but is the religion of American Indians who have been both exploited and influenced by western culture. Its significance for this study is that it reveals that psychedelic drugs provide meaning to those who have lost many of their traditional values. It is not difficult to find examples of a similar phenomenon among contemporary Americans. Masters and Houston devote an entire chapter in their study to what they call "Religious and Mystical Experience" in which they conclude, after examining the ease histories of drug users, that "the most profound and transforming psychedelic experiences have been those regarded by the subjects as religious" (1966:247). In the work by Blum and associates, a chapter entitled "Psychedelic Experience and Religious Belief" is included to analyze the social utility of LSD for mystical-religious purposes, such as enhancement or weakening of accepted religious, moral, ethical, arid dogmatic attitudes and beliefs (1964:187-198). The chapter focuses on a sample of forty-two drug users who were asked thirteen questions about religious beliefs and changes. A summary of the basic findings are:
"1. Sixty per cent stated their religious feelings were changed
a. Thirty percent experienced a deeper understanding of their previous religious feelings and felt closer to their church.
b. Thirty per cent experienced a change in their religious thinking in a variety of ways.
"2, Sixty per cent trusted God (or life) more; 35 per cent trusted people more.
"3. Forty per cent indicated their understanding of the teachings of their own church had changed, largely toward an increased understanding of doctrine.
"4. Forty per cent expressed lessened anxiety regarding death, elaborating this in a variety of ways.
"5. Thirty per cent felt a greater conviction of the existence of a supreme being.
"6. Eighty per cent stated they were more secure people.
"7. Fifty per cent indicated they were freer, more tolerant, or less guarded. Sixty per cent felt their personal conduct had changed for the better: 30 per cent believed their moral standards had changed toward increased personal responsibility.
"8. Forty per cent felt a different relation between themselves and other people" (Blum, et al. 1964:188).
Insofar as the authors in this study were able to ascertain, the drug effect added nothing new to the individual unconscious of each subject. Rather the drug-induced state brought into conscious awareness what was already present. This raises a question: Is God the unconscious of man? The answer must be no, for to the Christian the gift of eternal life is associated with meaning, value, direction, and purpose experientially revealed by the act of God in Christ. Meditation and prayer are the traditional paths of increasing the awareness of the Divine Presence as evidence of the gift. Has our secularistic culture robbed us of meditational exercise to the extent that it is necessary to resort to psychedelic drugs to make spiritual life meaningful?
A fascinating testimony is provided by Jane Donlap (pseudonym) who describes vividly her personal experience with LSD. Her statement explicitly gives the reason why many Americans have become drug users so we may do well to quote her at length.
"People naturally want to know why I wished to take LSD. The fact that related substances were used for religions purposes interested me profoundly, and I had heard that LSD experiences were often deeply spiritual. For many years it has seemed to me that, before any of its can have truly fulfilling lives, we must develop intelleettally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Intellectual and physical development are tremendously stressed in our culture, perhaps overstressed. Emotional and spiritual development, I feel, are both neglected and underestimated. Through several years of painful but glorious psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, I have done considerable maturing emotionally arid laid the foundation for further emotional growth, Intellectually I could have done better but also worse . . . When it came to spiritual attainment, my development was so pitifully inadequate that I sometimes felt consumed with an empty yearning
"Although growth means constant change and development, my belief in Cod and feelings about Him stayed much the same year after year except that I discarded my concepts of heaven and hell. In short, I was in a spiritual rut; furthermore I had no idea how to get out of it. Frankly I feel that I had a great deal of company and that asp rut was really quite crowded. For these reasons, when filling out a questionnaire which asked, 'Why do you wish to take lysergic acid?' I wrote: 'In hope of overcoming spiritual poverty.' Another time I filled the blank with: 'To get chemical Christianity' " (Dunlap, 1961:12-14. Italics added.).
The evidence sustains Mrs. Dunlap's opinion that her state of spiritual poverty and lack of meaning in
life pervades the condition of people in western culture. The pathos in discovering this fact is that dangerous mind-affecting drugs are resorted to in an effort to fill the spiritual void. The noted English historian, Arnold Toyisbee, gave an appraisal recently of American culture in, which he observed that one of our American weaknesses is that we have lost the "art of contemplation" and "the inward spiritual form of religion" (Life, December 8, 1967). An editorial its a widely read Christian periodical, in commenting on Toynbee's assertions, states: "Partly because of our churches' neglect of this aspect of Christianity', American young people have turned to drugs to find what they call a significant religious experience. But now many seem to be forsaking drugs and turning back to some of the contemplative religions of the Far East. Let us hope that before long they will discover the authentic mysticism at the heart of the Christian faith" (Christianity Today, May 24, 1968).
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