Drugwall: First principles for resisting psychoactive substances 

Jan 2, 2021

We live in an environment with an ever-increasing abundance of psychoactive substances. Since we have a natural tendency towards the consumption of more and more psychoactive substances, staying in the abstinent state requires an absolutist approach.

Psychoactive substances can be a slippery slope. Below, we give a set of first principles, or axioms, that should be implemented in order to make resisting easier. Think of these as a sequence of words such that they were implanted in the mind of an individual, would ensure a certain behavioral outcome—such as staying away from drugs. We think these are necessary, because saying “drugs are bad” without any context is generally not so effective.

  1. Drugs make lazy and weak — Psychoactive substances decrease willpower, focus and success rate by exploiting the reward center.
  2. Drugs are more bad than good — All psychoactive substances affect the nervous system negatively, more than positively. All psychedelics cause apophanies, more than they cause epiphanies.
  3. That goodness can be obtained without drugs — All positive effects brought by psychoactive substances, or epiphanies brought by psychedelics can also be attained through non-chemical means.
  4. The winning move is not to use — It is absolutely better to avoid all psychoactive substances and psychedelics.
  5. Drugs are used to show off — Drug use is hard to resist when it becomes a status symbol in a certain environment, but recognizing this fact will make resisting easier. E.g. children who grew up in the upper class are statistically more likely to become drug addicts later in life.
  6. No drug can make me smarter without a price — No substance (e.g. nootropics, microdosing LSD) can make you smarter without causing damage somewhere else.
  7. Asceticism, meditation and sports beat drugs — A healthy lifestyle, sports and asceticism can make you smarter and your mind sharper than you can ever imagine.
  8. Drugs shall only be used in medical emergencies — Exceptions to these rules are medical necessities such as depression, psychosis and schizophrenia, where there are no other alternatives.

Use these affirmations to increase determination and the ability to resist.

Drughead Bias

It is useless to enter an argument about the advantages or disadvantages of psychoactive substances with a drughead. Their entire thinking might be distorted by the addiction and the damage caused by the drugs. A psychedelics user for example might argue that it opens doors in the mind, makes one discover oneself, see all the connections between things and patterns that underlie everything. An abstinent person without the knowledge of apophenia might be persuaded and be even curious to try it out. Since usage is inherently pleasurable for many, this might become the first step in a chain of events which ends up with the abstinent becoming a drughead themself. Indoctrinating the first principles helps eliminate that risk.

Met with resistance, the drughead would possibly want to attack and deconstruct the Drugwall, influencing the debate in a self-serving way. We call this chemically-induced confirmation bias the drughead bias. As it goes with protecting any belief, the question “why?” should be welcomed with the complete awareness of the situation. Since the intent here is not learning but deconstructing the belief, the question should be deflected, e.g. “why not?” or “you have hit a first-principle bedrock”.