Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Drugs in American Society.
Goode, Erich. (1972).
New York: Knopf.
Description: First edition,
paperback, x + 260 pages, a Borzoi Book.
8 chapters, appendix: Does
Marijuana Lead to Dangerous Drugs?, author index, subject index.
Excerpt(s): The social
context of drug use powerfully influences-indeed, it might almost
be said determines-at least four central aspects of the drug reality,
aspects that traditionally have been presumed to grow directly
out of the chemical and pharmacological properties of drugs themselves,
independent of human intervention. These four aspects are drug
definitions, drug effects,
drug-related behavior and drug experience. The sociological
perspective stands in direct opposition to what might be called
the chemicalistic fallacy-the view that drug A causes behavior
X, that what we see as behavior and effects associated with a
given drug are solely (or even mainly) a function of the biochemical
properties of that drug, of the drug plus the human animal, or
even of the drug plus a human organism with a certain characteristic
structure. Drug effects and drug-related behavior are enormously
complicated, highly variable, and contingent on many things. And
the most important of these things are social and contextual in
nature. In the animal world, it is quite a bit easier to predict
what drugs will do. But experiments with rats do not tell us very
much about human behavior. This is why social context is so important.
In the famous "Kinsey
Reports," the most impressive statistical relationships were
found between sexual traditionalism and religious orthodoxy. As
we might expect, the same correlation holds between religion and
drug use-that is, there is a negative relationship between
being religiously observant and using marijuana. ...
Johnson found that he could predict marijuana use
with almost unerring accuracy with four simple social variables:
(1) sex, (2) religiousness, (3) political liberalism,
(4) cigarette smoking. These four variables proved to be an accurate
measure not only of who would try marijuana and who would not
but also of who would use marijuana regularly-weekly or more-and
who would not. Of all the nonreligious, politically "left,"
daily-cigarette-smoking men in Johnson's sample [college students],
97 percent had tried marijuana, and 63 percent were regular marijuana
smokers! Of all the religious, politically moderate, nonsmoking
women, only 4 percent had tried marijuana, and not one person
used marijuana regularly! Thus given a few basic and simple social
facts about an individual, the fact that he or she does or does
not use marijuana follows almost automatically.
... Background factors do not necessarily lead to
marijuana use directly; they lead to an association with others
who share certain sociocultural traits, and this association in
turn "leads to" marijuana use. ... It is having friends
who use marijuana that is the determining factor here, and not
simply having some set of "background" characteristics.
... In such groups marijuana smoking is not considered especially
"hip" or "cool," it is simply expected, just
as liberal politics are expected in some social circles, or monogamy,
or any other pattern of behavior. (pages 38-39)
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