You know those studies that are done of rats where they're addicted to a drug like heroin, and they end up pressing down on that lever ahead of food until they die? A man by the name of Bruce Alexander took that experiment a step further.
Alexander found that when you take rats out of tiny separate cages and put them in a spacious “rat park” with ample exercise, food, and social interaction, they no longer choose drugs; indeed, already-addicted rats will wean themselves off drugs after they are transferred from cages to the rat park.
The implication is that drug addiction is not a moral failing or physiological malfunction, but an adaptive response to circumstances. It would be the height of cruelty to put rats in cages and then, when they start using drugs, to punish them for it. That would be like suppressing the symptoms of a disease while maintaining the necessary conditions for the disease itself. Alexander's studies, if not a contributing factor in the drug war's slow unraveling, are certainly aligned with it in metaphor.
... Here are some ways to put a human being in a cage:
Cut people off from nature and from place. At most let nature be a spectacle or venue for recreation, but remove any real intimacy with the land. Source food and medicine from thousands of miles away. Move life – especially children's lives – indoors. Let as many sounds as possible be manufactured sounds, and as many sights be virtual sights. Destroy community bonds by casting people into a society of strangers, in which you don't rely on and needn't even know by name the people living around you. Create constant survival anxiety by making survival depend on money, and then making money artificially scarce. Administer a money system in which there is always more debt than there is money. Divide the world up into property, and confine people to spaces that they own or pay to occupy. Replace the infinite variety of the natural and artisanal world, where every object is unique, with the sameness of commodity goods. Reduce the intimate realm of social interaction to the nuclear family and put that family in a box. Destroy the tribe, the village, the clan, and the extended family as a functioning social unit. Make children stay indoors in age-segregated classrooms in a competitive environment where they are conditioned to perform tasks that they don't really care about or want to do, for the sake of external rewards. Destroy the local stories and relationships that build identity, and replace them with celebrity news, sports team identification, brand identification, and world views imposed by authority. Delegitimize or illegalize folk knowledge of how to heal and care for one another, and replace it with the paradigm of the “patient” dependent on medical authorities for health.
Gateway Drug to What? by Charles Eisenstein