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[escepticos] RE: [escepticos] ¡Tenía que ser escéptico!

Al hilo de esto James Randi, que fue amigo personal de Carl Sagan, comentaba
precisamente lo siguiente: (en inglés tal cual lo he recibido... pero ya sé
que hay mucho polígamo -digo, polígloto- por la corrala):

News has just been released that tells us Carl Sagan was a frequent user of
marijuana and attributed many of his insights to the use of the drug.  I've
received a raft of mail today inquiring about my reaction to this.

Well, I've got calls in to Ann Druyen, Carl's wife and co-author.  That
inquiry might enlighten me somewhat.  Meanwhile, I'll try to formulate an
interim response.

Carl Sagan was one of my heroes, big time.  As most of you will know, he
wrote favorably about me, and provided me with an introduction to one of my
books.  He always encouraged me in every way.  Any time we spent together
was delightful.  I was consulted by him at Cornell about his Critical
Thinking course, and he arranged for me to lecture there, twice.  I was
honored to be a guest at his home, I am still in touch with one of his sons
-- to whom I gave blood during an emergency here many years ago -- and in
general we were good friends.  And, Carl was not reluctant to criticize
some of my actions when he thought I needed to be scolded.  I respect him
and his memory very sincerely and without reservation.

My attitude on drugs is well known.  Most of my close friends will reflect
that attitude.  I find it repugnant that anyone can choose to unbalance
their mind voluntarily, and to thereby surrender to chaos.  I'm very much
"down" on drug use, to the point that I never use even pain killers unless
it's absolutely necessary.  I want to be "here and now" all the time, if I
can manage it.  That's my choice.  I don't drink, I don't smoke.  Again, my
choice.  I don't expect others to go along with those choices, but I also
don't believe that I should suffer discomfort or bad health as a result of
their drug needs.

And now I have learned that Carl Sagan regularly used marijuana.  I'd known
for a long time that Ann Druyen was very active in a movement that sought
to liberalize laws against marijuana, and I've always been horrified at the
extreme penalties originated by lawmakers who smoke and drink themselves,
but want pot-smokers to go to prison for the most minor offences to the
law, involving that drug.  We all know of long jail sentences and heavy
fines borne by persons involved with this drug -- and others -- penalties
that are FAR GREATER than those for murder!  How can that be right?  Of
course, it isn't right, or just, or rational.  But it will be in force so
long as zealots in government throw their weight behind stupid excesses.
And that seems to be a condition we will always labor under.

In fact, and I don't think I've expressed this before in print, I cannot
see the rationality of laws against the use of any substance -- no matter
how stupid and harmful that use may be -- so long as it doesn't intefere
with my comfort and safety (or the comfort and safety of those dear to me),
or require me to support any resultant addiction and its consequences.
People should be totally free to decide what to do with their lives,
providing that their actions don't intefere with others.  That's my stance.
 I don't think we can legislate certain matters.

At the same time, I say that the authorities have a paramount duty and
obligation to inform everyone of the truth about drug use.  No, not the
incredibly naive and hyperbolized version of reality that was seen in the
government-produced propaganda film "Reefer Madness," though we can laugh
at that now (can't we?) and hope that we now have a better understanding of
such matters.  Young people should be made aware of the fact that certain
substances are highly addictive, can cause them to malfunction, will
shorten their lives, should be avoided at all costs, will reduce their
ability to manage driving and other sensitive actions, can induce or
directly cause certain deadly/fatal diseases, will cripple and kill if used
freely, and are KNOWN to be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths
every year.  I am referring to tobacco and alcohol.  Yet these substances
are licensed for sale, and taxed, by the goverments of the world!  As for
other drugs, I fail to see -- in many instances -- why they are looked upon
so differently.

I'll never use pot.  It might, as Carl seemed to think, enlarge my ability
to think, and give me great ideas.  Maybe.  But I also want control, and I
think I would lose that.  Won't happen.  It was Carl's choice, and I have
to respect that.  I really wonder whether my reaction to him would have
been different if I'd known.  Maybe, maybe not.  A photo of Ann, myself,
and Carl, hangs above my desk.  I just looked up and said to Carl, "Your
choice, guy, and I'm with you!"

I'm very disturbed by all this and may have more coherent things to say at
another time.  I just don't know.  I  miss Carl a lot.

But I do know that using dope is stupid.  Still.


Javier armentia