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The Natural Mind: A Revolutionary Approach to the Drug Problem Paperback – December 9, 2004
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More importantly Weil models an attitude toward substance use that you won't find anywhere else. As a former "addict" I thought drugs were objectively magical; that I could always put them in my body and get the same effect, and that I needed them. I was afraid to let go of them. Weil shows that drugs can be useful to anyone - for a time - but the drug experience opens up new ways of thinking that you will no longer need drugs to achieve. That is, they do have usefulness, but it can be seen as limited, and you can move on from them without losing. You don't have to demonize drugs to quit or reduce your use under this view. This is the mature, nuanced perspective that escapes both anti-drug zealots, and those "addicts and alcoholics" who romanticize and relentlessly lust after drugs, sometimes for decades after quitting.
I personally recommend this book to many people who have trouble detaching from heavy substance use.
I'd also like to mention that the things I could identify as facts I only knew from reading in other medical journals or text books. His citations are scant, studies few and far between. It's more anecdotal than anything else. He relies on personal experience over case studies, and that's more problematic as not everyone will experience things the same way he has. Otherwise this was an interesting, and open-minded, take on the drug problem.
I have now read the first 80% of the book. Weil discusses the universal human urge to experience different states of consciousness either through drugs or with no drug. He did his Harvard Medical School internship in the San Francisco Psychiatric hospital in the late 1960s, and treated people who were hospitalized for taking every imaginable street drug. He has also traveled to other cultures around the world who have different consciousness altering as part of their culture. He goes into the main street drugs and explains what they do medically, psychologically, and Spiritually. He covers every argument for and against and discusses medical research. He explains the solution to all of today's "drug problems," and this analysis is so general that it extends to modern allopathic medicine and its alternatives. He also covers Psychiatry, and social problems. His conclusions on all of this are sharply critical of the current status of all of these areas. Most people who have experienced consciousness altering drugs would probably love the book. Strong anti drug people would hate the book. Allopathic doctors -- the only kind covered by Medicare -- would angerly reject the book, and so would Psychiatrists. Weil is sharply critical of all of them and says they create the very problems they are trying to solve. He calls these people "straight thinkers" where "straight" does not refer to drug slang or gender orientation, but to the Linearity of thinking. Strait thinking rules in universities like Harvard, by most lawyers, and by most psychiatrists and medical doctors, as well as much law inforcement.
Although drugs are discussed as examples through out the book, its not really a book about drugs. It is more about consciousness, and thinking. Weil now heads up an Integrative Medicine instute, and many of the examples are from general medicine.
I will continue this review as I read rest of the book -- just wanted to post this so like minded folks can be advised.