New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#1 2002-07-19 06:28:45

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Here's a new topic you guys might like to feast upon.. smile

Drugs and alcohol on Mars...

While there is little doubt that the initial manned missions to Mars will have little concern with this issue, for the simple reason that mission planners will make certain that the astronants bring little or no alcohol with them on their journey to Mars, and the list of pharmacucials will be quite limited as well, what happens when permanent human settlements are established on Mars?  Many of us feel that in order for a Martian society to survive and flourish, many of the personal freedoms that we take for granted here on Earth will be quite limited in an environment where everyone is highly dependent on each other.

So...do you think alcohol and other recreational drugs should be allowed, and if so, in what ways?  If total prohibition is indeed put into place in a Martian settlement, how would it be enforced without tearing the society apart (think:  the era of Prohibition in the US during the 1920's and early '30's)?  Should "safer" drugs, such as KSR's magical "endorf tabs" be allowed instead, perhaps on a rationing system?  Or do you think that the colony would do just fine with limited or no drug restrictions at all, with the implicit understanding that if one's drug use leads to abuse, that severe sanctions would have to implemented upon the abuser?

Just something to think about...

B

Offline

#2 2002-07-19 08:10:20

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

with the implicit understanding that if one's drug use leads to abuse

*Ah, but that's the problem.  Who defines what "abuse" is?  Many alcoholics ::aren't::, according to them.  I know many people who go ballistic at the mere mention of the word "marijuana," believing anybody who smokes it just once is bound for out-and-out heroin addiction in some greasy, dirty back alley in the future, because "marijuana is the gateway drug."  I don't smoke marijuana, btw.

You do bring up a good subject.  What if someone wants to grow [or try to grow] marijuana on Mars?  Or psilocybin?  Or poppies?  What if eventually someone makes a still...or, prior to that, how much alcohol will be permitted to be shipped in from Earth?  Sure, the Feds on Earth might tell US settlers, "No, you cannot grow marijuana on Mars!"  But what if a family member or friend of said settler sneaks seeds into a package to be sent to Mars...the plants are growing gang-busters -- how are the Feds going to stop the Marsian settler? 

Yeah, this is going to be interesting.  tongue

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#3 2002-07-19 09:34:27

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Many of us feel that in order for a Martian     society to survive and flourish, many of the personal freedoms that we take for granted here on Earth will be quite limited in an environment   where everyone is highly dependent on each other.

Let's say we allow free use of all drugs (alcohol is a drug there is no need for a distiniction). Would you, as an individual, feel comfortable with living in a confined space with other people who have the opportunity to abuse drugs? Dosen't bother you?

Okay.

Would you as an individual feel safe knowing that the other people you depend on within the colony can abuse drugs, and that such abuse may lead to fatal accidents or mistakes that could destroy you and everyone else in the base?

Would we as a group living on Mars, dependant upon the specfic skills neccessary to create, maintain, or repair the machinery on the base be better served in allowing everyone to use drigs? What do we gain by allowing this behavior? Personal freedom?

If you allow free use of drugs on Mars, you allow for the possibility that the only base medic, engineer, hydrologist, botanist, butrionist, etc. kills themselves in an accidental overdose or just an accident. This would be acceptable if it weren't for the fact that their skill sets are neccessary to the functioning and survival of everyone else.

This is not an argument predicated on religion, or from an "anti-drug" mantra. It simply isn't wise to allow this when humans are living in such an environmentaly fragile state.

If an engineer dies here from drug use, I don't die- on Mars, I might becuase he was the only one that could fix the air generator. What sense is there in this?

If everyone can die at a push of a button, is it wise to allow for substances that will affect perception, behavior, judgement, emotional state, and inhibition?

Clean and sober, by neccessity.

Offline

#4 2002-07-19 09:38:49

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

To clear things up, I would define drug "abuse" when the user is experiencing negative effects to the point of outward manifestation...such as physical abuse of spouse and kids, decreased work performance and generally behaving in ways hazardous to others.

Cindy brings up a good point about marijuana...who's going to stop future settlers from bringing seeds and growing their own private "crop"?  There have been reports of Antarctic researchers growing a few "weeds" of their own during the long "overwintering" period...as there was no real worry of enforcement from afar..lol.

Also, in order to enforce total prohibition from "within", so to speak, it would mean that the colonists would have to give up virtually all sense of privacy, as most drug use takes place in the home or other private places.  Random, unannounced searches of homes would definately be in the cards in this type of scenerio. sad   My personal opinion is to allow our future Martians do whatever drugs they want..pot, home-brewed libations, endorfs, etc...as long as their use does not directly effect others in a negative fashion, *and* as long as the drug is not overtly toxic or highly addictive, such as heroin or crystal meth.  My take on this is that the settlers will be under extreme stress most of the time, and it would be quite inpractical to deny them any kind of release at all...lest they reach burn-out and quit contributing to the colony altogether, which would be worse than dealing with the occasional abuser, IMHO...

B

Offline

#5 2002-07-19 11:22:38

C M Edwards
Member
From: Lake Charles LA USA
Registered: 2002-04-29
Posts: 1,011

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

There are ways of avoiding burnout other than resorting to intixicants. 

However, strictly recreational drugs - without common medical use - aren't the only ones the colonists will have a desire for.  I think it will be vitally important for colonists to be able to produce their own medical supplies.  This means that they must be able to produce their own drugs as well. 

Those little seeds stuffed into personal allotments might just be welcomed by those responsible for colony operations for reasons that have nothing to do with getting a good buzz.

CME


"We go big, or we don't go."  - GCNRevenger

Offline

#6 2002-07-19 12:16:17

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

To clear things up, I would define drug "abuse" when the user is experiencing negative effects to the point of outward manifestation...such as  physical abuse of spouse and kids, decreased work performance and generally behaving in ways hazardous to others.

How wise is it to REACT only when  negative effects are being manifested? One person can destroy the colony, so the catastrophic damage would be done. Or, take another view, living on Mars means that people must be perpared for evacuation for any reason on a moments notice- this is not something you can plan- don't we compromise individual, as well as general saftey by allowing for recreational drug use?

Cindy brings up a good point about marijuana...who's going to stop future settlers from bringing seeds and growing their own private "crop"?

Plants require Nitrogen, which is not so abundant on mars- is it really a wise use of resources to allow people to use the available Nitrogen for plants that serve no purpose other than recreation?

Also, in order to enforce total prohibition from "within", so to speak, it would mean that the colonists would have to give up virtually all sense of   privacy, as most drug use takes place in the home or other private places.

There will be no privacy on mars- the environment requires that everything and everyone be monitored in order to maintain the security and saftey of the entire base. Also, a simple tamper-resistant smoke detector or chemical analyser in the air system could alert others to the exact location of who is "having fun"- no need for random anything.

My personal opinion is to allow our future Martians do whatever drugs they want..pot, home-brewed  libations, endorfs, etc...as long as their use does not directly effect others in a negative fashion, *and* as long as the drug is not overtly toxic  or highly addictive, such as heroin or crystal meth.

Your sentiment makes no sense. You are against highly toxic and addictive substances, yet you allow for alcohol- which is one of the most addictive and toxic substances regularly consumed by people. A hangover is physical withdrawl. Alcohol poisioning is all too common and all can ahppen easily. while most drug use may not result in DIRECTlY effecting anyone, it creates an unstable and unpredictable environment where we can never be sure what other people might do (they wouldn't be in their right mind if they use drugs, it affects judgement).

Would you put your life, or your families life, in the hands of people who are responsible for flying a plane and allow them to use drugs? It's the same on Mars- you are effectively living in a plane that can crash at any moment.

Offline

#7 2002-07-19 13:13:06

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

This is my response to Clark's *first* post, as I posted just after he did...

Let's say we allow free use of all drugs (alcohol is a drug there is no need for a distiniction). Would you, as an individual, feel comfortable with living in a confined space with other people who have the opportunity to abuse drugs? Dosen't bother you?

Okay.

Would you as an individual feel safe knowing that the other people you depend on within the colony can abuse drugs, and that such abuse may lead to fatal accidents or mistakes that could destroy you and everyone else in the base?

Yes, it would bother me that the people I work with could be abusing drugs....however, I feel drug abuse is rarely something that strikes without warning, like lightning.  Drug additions usually takes time to build to a critical level, and in the close confines of the colony and especially the workplace, it really shouldn't be too difficult to spot someone who is constantly hung-over, has bloodshot eyes, a listless attitude...the list goes on and on.  If the common attitude is shifted to preventing abuse, rather than simple use, imo, I think the risk of having dangerous abusers running around amok would be extremely low, comparable to other common risks to the colony, such as fire or power failure.

Would we as a group living on Mars, dependant upon the specfic skills neccessary to create, maintain, or repair the machinery on the base be better served in allowing everyone to use drigs? What do we gain by allowing this behavior? Personal freedom?

You are absolutely right about this...and I have a solution, one that I would love to see implemented here in the U.S. for airline pilots.  As it has been demonstrated that a few commercial pilots have placed their charges at grave risk for not obeying the law against drinking and flying ??? , I would seek to eliminate this risk by having each pilot sit down at a computer terminal and play a "video game" to test whether the person's mental state is fit for duty.  If they are intoxicated, hung-over, or even merely tired, they would fail the test, and therefore be prohibited from duty (as well as undergoing additional tests to check for drug abuse).

This way, we could still permit people to use drugs in a responsible manner, and avoid the dreaded loss of privacy of total drug prohibition.  The real issue is balance...balancing the basic human desire to unwind and relax with the aid of various substances and the need to preserve a safe and healthy environment.  As intelligent as our future colonists will likely be..I'm confident that a way will be found to accomodate what is done in privacy and the overall needs of the community without resorting to draconion measures such as visits from security in the middle of the night to make sure one is not "tibbling" or "burning a bowl" in the face of total prohibition...

B

Offline

#8 2002-07-19 13:19:30

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

I think this is an interesting topic, which ultimately gets down to the debate about individual liberties vs. the safety of the group.

Clark: I think you're taking this to extremes. Using nitrogen for solely for recreational purposes is a waste because you might need it for growing food? First, you are assuming that simply because it is not abundant on Mars, it will be in short supply. The same could be said of oxygen. I think the colonists will be wise enough to have a great deal of buffer supply, and in any case I think the amount of soil space and resources consumed by growing marijuana will be insignificant compared to that spent on food crops.

And what about other recreational activities? Should we stop colonists from bringing board games, or books, or toys from Earth or manufacturing them on Mars when they're 'wasting' precious resources on something that is only recreation?

It is interesting to note that the Russians tend to turn a blind eye towards cosmonauts having the occasional bit of vodka on holidays and special occasions. As far as I know, this has never once resulted in any adverse situations. I would imagine that the level of alcohol consumption will be similar on Mars, at least in the early stages.

Incidentally, a hangover is not physical withdrawal; hangovers are thought to be caused by dehydration and mild toxins in the drink. 

I don't agree that the risks on Mars will be similar to that with people flying airplanes. In fact, that's an interesting analogy considering that many people believe that planes could potentially become pilotless in the next few decades. It's unlikely that you'll ever have a plane flying without a trained pilot, but if in the unlikely circumstance that the pilot dies (e.g., heart attack) an autopilot could be activated to take over.

In the same way, we always hear that crews going to Mars would be multidisplinary. Colonists would be moreso - there would be a duplication of specialities such that if one person becomes incapacitated, the colony will still be able to go on. Automation will make this only easier and safer.

Ultimately all of this will be up to the values of the colonists, not us. If they feel that drinking a bit of alcohol off the job and taking the occasional puff of marijuana will not overly compromise the safety of the colony, then they'll let people do that.


Editor of New Mars

Offline

#9 2002-07-19 13:47:27

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Yes, it would bother me that the people I work with could be abusing drugs....however, I feel drug abuse is rarely something that strikes without warning, like lightning.

True, it may not strike that often, but it needs only strike once and everyone else dies. Why allow that?

Drug additions usually takes  time to build to a critical level, and in the close confines of the colony and especially the workplace, it really shouldn't be too difficult to spot someone who is constantly hung-over, has bloodshot  eyes, a listless attitude...the list goes on and on.

Sounds sensible enough, but look at reality. There are MILLIONS of people who hide their addiction- from coworkers, friends, and family. Children routinely hide this behavior with their parents, whom they live with. How many times have we heard the story of poor Billy- how he ends up strung out but his parents and friends never expected it.

You are expecting tell-tale signs to appear in order to effectively identify and manage the abusers- but this is nowhere near accurate or reliable.

If the common attitude is shifted to preventing abuse, rather than simple use, imo, I think the risk of having dangerous abusers running around amok would be extremely low, comparable to other common risks to the colony, such as fire or power failure.

Contrary to popular belief, humans are predictable. Humans are rational, and most of the decisions made always fall within a spectrum of expected behavior to a given stimuli. EX: There is a fire- most people either run away or do somethign to help put out the fire. Someone on drugs can no longer be expected to act in a predicted way because how they interpret the stimuli is unknown (and screwed up). Someone on shrooms could see any manner of thing and decide to shut the power off. Someone who is drunk may get upset easily and decide that opening the airlock with their "enemies" unsuited in it as acceptable. Someone high on MJ could forget to check the seals on their suit during an emergency evac and die.

Any of this could happen WITHOUT drugs, however, the likelihood of it happening is reduced. Drugs are just a big unknown- we never know how people are going to react, or how they will perceive what they perceive- it is not exactly wise to allow this in a situation where everybodies life is dependant on everyone else acting along similar lines... is it?

I would seek to eliminate this risk by having each pilot sit down at a computer terminal and play a "video game" to test whether the person's mental is fit for duty.

Okay, how does this mitigate the problems when an unexpected mechanical failure occurs that must be resolved immediatly? And the real issue is people on drugs may cause damage to the base while under the influence- thus endangering everyone. How does a video game protect us from that?

This way, we could still permit people to use drugs in a responsible manner, and avoid the dreaded loss of privacy of total drug prohibition.

There are other means to enforce drug prohibition without completely violating your privacy.

The real issue is balance...balancing the basic human desire to unwind and relax with the aid of various substances and the need to preserve a safe and healthy environment.

You may have a basic human desire to unwind and relax with the aid of drugs, but how does that justify allowing the behavior? We have a basic human desire for many things, many of which we have to actively curb in order to get along with one another- or just to survive. Why do you NEED drugs to relax? If you don't NEED them, then you have to come up with a better justification. Here on Planet Earth, most people do NOT use drugs for recreational purposes to unwind or relax- they have hobbies and such. Why is it unreasonable to require that people find a means to relax that does not endanger the community?

Offline

#10 2002-07-19 13:49:29

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

This is in response to clark's second post..lol.

There will be no privacy on mars- the environment requires that everything and everyone be monitored in order to maintain the security and saftey of the entire base. Also, a simple tamper-resistant smoke detector or chemical analyser in the air system could alert others to the exact location of who is "having fun"- no need for random anything.

I firmly, firmly disagree with that statement.  Surely we would have enough faith (oops..shouldn't have used that word) in human intelligence to enable a closed society to "trust" its own members to behave in a responsible manner by taking away the one thing that people will need most on Mars: their privacy.  We know that due to space limitations and lack of open space, privacy will be at a *premium*...and that's exactly why we need to preserve it to an extent that is possible, such as not monitoring private living quarters.  A Mars community is not a "Big Brother" episode...it will be a community of people living out their day-to-day lives with all the things that come with human living, both positive and negative.  Why a central authority would seek to crush the common spirit of this community in the name of eliminating *all* risk of harmful behavior from certain wayward individuals...this just isn't possible, for one thing; let alone be practical in the sense that so much of the colony's resources would have to be devoted to security and monitoring, not to mention the courts and punishing people for every little infraction that they might commit.  Also, having smoke detectors and air sniffers wouldn't be enough, as mj can be consumed in a smokeless form..and alcohol could be consumed out of a sealed container....we would have to go way beyond that to completely eliminate all drug use...

A Mars settlement needs to be built on TRUST...and a society totally devoid of privacy would NOT be conducive to promoting an atmosphere of thust..it would be all about busting people everytime they seek to have a drink, etc, which would start the colony in a death spiral of mistrust, destructive behavior, mass disregard for rules, etc. 

Your sentiment makes no sense. You are against highly toxic and addictive substances, yet you allow for alcohol- which is one of the most addictive and toxic substances regularly consumed by people. A hangover is physical withdrawl. Alcohol poisioning is all too common and all can ahppen easily. while most drug use may not result in DIRECTlY effecting anyone, it creates an unstable and unpredictable environment where we can never be sure what other people might do (they wouldn't be in their right mind if they use drugs, it affects judgement).

You've got a point here...but alcohol has been a human tradition for 1000's of years, and it'd be hard for our Martian settlers to give it up completely.  Perhaps a rationing system could be put into place to prevent people from bingeing on alcohol..such as one bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer a week, with a bit more allowed during holidays and festivals.  But if we were to give up on alcohol completely, I think it would behoove the colonists to come up with another "acceptable" drug, such as cannibis...to date, no one has ever died from a purely THC overdose.  You mentioned the lack of nitrogen...if it's that scarce..I don't think a permanent Martian settlement would even be possible, as that is an element that needs to be present and obtainable in abundance, like water...otherwise it's a no-go for a permanent Mars settlement.  I think every inch of "open space" will be covered in plants in a Mars city, as plants help filter out the air and it's a cheap way to convert CO2 back to O2...and a few baby "Mary Janes" in the midst would only assist in this effort...lol.

Our Martian settlers will be working hard enough as it is...I think the long-run cost of stamping out drug use completly would be higher than going with a reasonable, balanced approach...

B

Offline

#11 2002-07-19 14:05:54

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Here are my two cents:

Should recreational drugs be banned from a Mars settlement?

Great question and I see great arguments on both sides.

But - here is another question,

Can recreational drugs be effectively banned in any event? Personally, I doubt it and a stern unnuanced prohibition may do more harm than good.

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, ground crews were drinking the anti-freeze used on Soviet fighter jets because of a crackdown on military alcoholism. The stuff really was poison - not the slow poison we call scotch or gin - but a fast and deadly poison.

People seeking chemical relief will find a way and can be amazingly clever in finding and hiding a drug of choice.

Secret stills, adjusting the atmospheric processors to make nitrous oxide, stealing legitimate medical supplies.

This is potentially a very serious problem that cannot be solved by "JUST SAY NO!"

I would prefer a 100% "clean" mission - how to get there is not so obvious to me.

This is why I also believe "banning" guns is pretty useless - I would prefer no guns, but, IMHO, a well trained MarsDirect crew member will be able to build a reasonable facsimile of firearms rather easily.

Offline

#12 2002-07-19 14:09:40

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

There will be no privacy on mars- the environment requires that everything and everyone be monitored in order to maintain the security and saftey of the entire base.

*Well, Clark, you're right about one thing:  People are predictable, and as usual you've gone to the extreme.  smile

No privacy on Mars?  How do you know that?  Going to install cameras everywhere?  People won't even be able to engage in sexual activity without someone else having to know?

You're quite a comedian, Clark.  We're not talking about Eurasia vs Eastasia, you know.

I suppose you're brushing up on your INGSOC too?

Down with Big Brother!

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#13 2002-07-19 14:09:56

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Clark: I think you're taking this to extremes. Using nitrogen for solely for recreational purposes is a waste because you might need it for growing food? First, you are assuming that simply because it is not abundant on Mars, it will be in short supply. The same could be said of oxygen. I think the colonists will be wise enough to have a great deal of buffer supply, and in any case I think the amount of soil space and resources consumed by growing marijuana will be insignificant compared to that spent on food crops.

And what about other recreational activities? Should we stop colonists from bringing board games, or books, or toys from Earth or manufacturing them on Mars when they're 'wasting' precious resources on something that is only recreation?

It is interesting to note that the Russians tend to turn a blind eye towards cosmonauts having the occasional bit of vodka on holidays and special occasions. As far as I know, this has never once resulted in any adverse situations. I would imagine that the level of alcohol consumption will be similar on Mars, at least in the early stages.

Incidentally, a hangover is not physical withdrawal; hangovers are thought to be caused by dehydration and mild toxins in the drink. 

I don't agree that the risks on Mars will be similar to that with people flying airplanes. In fact, that's an interesting analogy considering that many people believe that planes could potentially become pilotless in the next few decades. It's unlikely that you'll ever have a plane flying without a trained pilot, but if in the unlikely circumstance that the pilot dies (e.g., heart attack) an autopilot could be activated to take over.

In the same way, we always hear that crews going to Mars would be multidisplinary. Colonists would be moreso - there would be a duplication of specialities such that if one person becomes incapacitated, the colony will still be able to go on. Automation will make this only easier and safer.

Ultimately all of this will be up to the values of the colonists, not us. If they feel that drinking a bit of alcohol off the job and taking the occasional puff of marijuana will not overly compromise the safety of the colony, then they'll let people do that.

I'm glad you made these points, Adrian...Clark seems to indicate that a future Martain colony is a like a bird's egg..one that has been thinned by DDT.  I really don't think that conditions will be so unsafe that everyone will have to perform at peak efficiency to ensure survival.  If this was the case...I don't see the point of having an ongoing Martain community in the first place...it'd be just too plain risky.  There will be double and triple redundancies built into place in just about everything, and computers will "oversee" the colony's infrastructure and its continued safe operation.  It would not be too difficult to implement a few basic algorithims to prevent "careless" mistakes, and things such as crazed individuals attempting to open both airlock doors at once...that's a Hollywood impression..lol.  Only ONE door will open at a time...that is just how it will be built..anything otherwise would not be too smart. 

Even if ALL use of drugs was indeed prohibited..and there's no reason to think that a future colony wouldn't resort to doing just that for reasons of safety...we would still be faced with human frailities that can effect the safety of others just as much as the use/abuse of drugs...such as being sick on the job (many people just hate to admit they're sick), not getting enough sleep, poor relations with others (which would surely be a problem in a closely confined settlement), and a whole host of other *human* factors.

If we are not able to deal with these "negative" human factors in a way that ensures the continued health and safety of the colony in a balanced, reasonable manner...why not just forget the idea of people on Mars, and just have a colony filled with semi-intelligent robots... wink   ??

Offline

#14 2002-07-19 14:14:29

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

If we are not able to deal with these "negative" human factors in a way that ensures the continued health and safety of the colony in a balanced, reasonable manner...why not just forget the idea of people on Mars, and just have a colony filled with semi-intelligent robots... wink   ??

*I'll be sure to show up and offer an apple to those semi-intelligent robotic drones.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#15 2002-07-19 15:41:05

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

And what about other recreational activities? Should we stop colonists from bringing board games, or books, or toys from Earth or    manufacturing them on Mars when they're 'wasting' precious resources on something that is only recreation?

The board games, books, and toys do not represent a threat to the colony- the colony will not be in jepordy becuase of the book you read last night- however, it may be in jepordy due to the drugs you consumed. And the point regarding Nitrogen wasn't about resources in general- it was about a SIGNIFICANT resource in small supply that is neccessary for survival. If a toy uses up a significant resource neccessary for survival to the colony, then by all means, it should not be allowed.

Offline

#16 2002-07-19 20:42:06

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

So...do you think alcohol and other recreational drugs should be allowed, and if so, in what ways?  If total prohibition is indeed put into place in a Martian settlement, how would it be enforced without tearing the society apart (think:  the era of Prohibition in the US during the 1920's and early '30's)?  Should "safer" drugs, such as KSR's magical "endorf tabs" be allowed instead, perhaps on a rationing system?  Or do you think that the colony would do just fine with limited or no drug restrictions at all, with the implicit understanding that if one's drug use leads to abuse, that severe sanctions would have to implemented upon the abuser?

I'd vote to open a Martian saloon.  We'll even put a hitching post out front so Shaun can tie up his cows before coming in for a cold one.  Considering that studies show that the inhabitants of McMurdo base in Antartica are eleven times more likely to become alcoholics then their non-antarctic peers, it might be a good idea to hold off on taking alcohol on initial missions.  But once Mars is host to massive colonies housing thousands of people, it probably wouldn't be so bad having alcohol since you wouldn't have to worry about the whole place being drunk all at once if you know what I mean.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

Offline

#17 2002-07-19 22:12:54

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

I'd vote to open a Martian saloon.  We'll even put a hitching post out front so Shaun can tie up his cows before coming in for a cold one.

*Fine.  But I insist on being the first partaker of a 100% genuine Martian Martini [shaken, not stirred].  big_smile

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

Offline

#18 2002-07-20 01:21:27

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

I sometimes find it hard to see where Clark is coming from on some topics .... probably my fault because I tend not to enjoy getting too bogged down in a deep analysis of ethics and human nature. I feel such discussions too often fail to convince one protagonist of the correctness of another's viewpoint and, worse, can lead to acrimony.
   In this case though, Clark's view is clear and, I think, technically correct. Without meaning to be flippant about it, it reminds me of how Mr Spock would evaluate the situation. The logic would be impeccable but Leonard McCoy would undoubtedly abuse Spock's lack of humanity and add spice to the argument by blaming his green blood! (I hasten to add I cast no aspersions on Clark's ancestry ... I'm sure his blood is red! )
   In an ideal scenario, all the colonists would be non-smoking tea-totallers with a powerful sense of community and a cheerful predisposition to early morning cold showers after a bracing dawn session at the gym!!
   Bill White and most of the rest of us (even Clark, I suspect) know it ain't never gonna happen! We are talking about a HUMAN colony, after all; with all that that entails. There will always be the "Boys' Own Annual" hero or heroine at one end of the spectrum and the weak-natured addictive personality at the other. I expect the first small colonies will be populated, by careful selection, with far more of the former than the latter. But later on as the population expands, we'll end up with the same proportions as we get here on Earth.
   As long as we're up against an environment as lethal as the surface of Mars, we're bound to get disasters caused by human error and irresponsibility. Draconian control will only make things worse as it tends to bring out the rebel in almost all of us eventually.
   I have a mild dependency problem of my own, I should confess. I'm very partial to the high quality crisp white wines and luscious full-bodied red wines produced in my home country! In fact, hardly a day goes by without my enjoying a glass or two of one or the other with my evening meal. It's the most civilised way I know to end the day.
   Anybody can abuse almost any substance anywhere if that's what they want to do. But the great majority of us know our limits and derive enormous enjoyment out of our little "weaknesses" .... it's good for us! And you would be surprised how alert I could be, even after my evening meal, if someone announced that the dome had been breached! Someone famous once said that the prospect of imminent death concentrates the mind wonderfully!!
   Anyhow. The bottom line for me is: If there's no wine on Mars, you'll have to go without me! (Same goes for coffee! )
                                 sad


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

Offline

#19 2002-07-20 16:15:49

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

*Fine.  But I insist on being the first partaker of a 100% genuine Martian Martini [shaken, not stirred].

That'll be five Mars bucks. smile

As long as we're up against an environment as lethal as the surface of Mars, we're bound to get disasters caused by human error and irresponsibility. Draconian control will only make things worse as it tends to bring out the rebel in almost all of us eventually.

Well, if anybody says anything that's politically out of fashion with the collective they'll just be executed.  If anybody is even mildy suspected of harboring rebellious sentiments, they'll be executed.  If someone actually is a rebel they'll be executed.  If someone has one to many children, they'll be executed.  If someone drinks from a smuggled bottle of wine, they'll be executed.  So as you can see, the deterrent effect will be in full force in case anyone threatens our utopian collective.  We can't allow something as unpredictable and unscientific as human nature to get in the way.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

Offline

#20 2002-07-20 16:45:07

Byron
Member
From: Florida, USA
Registered: 2002-05-16
Posts: 844

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Well, if anybody says anything that's politically out of fashion with the collective they'll just be executed.  If anybody is even mildy suspected of harboring rebellious sentiments, they'll be executed.  If someone actually is a rebel they'll be executed.  If someone has one to many children, they'll be executed.  If someone drinks from a smuggled bottle of wine, they'll be executed.  So as you can see, the deterrent effect will be in full force in case anyone threatens our utopian collective.  We can't allow something as unpredictable and unscientific as human nature to get in the way.

Well said, Phobos... big_smile   

What's the point of going to Mars in the first place if we can't be human?  If we wanted to create our perfect "collective" on Mars...I say we stick with my earlier suggestion of just having a group of robot drones, a la "Data," establish a Martian colony...that sure would take care of a lot of problems, wouldn't it?

B

Offline

#21 2002-07-21 12:04:11

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Well said, Phobos...   

What's the point of going to Mars in the first place if we can't be human?  If we wanted to create our perfect "collective" on Mars...I say we stick with my earlier suggestion of just having a group of robot drones, a la "Data," establish a Martian colony...that sure would take care of a lot of problems, wouldn't it?

B

I think a dictator would love the idea of having drones, robotic or not.  If robots can't be supplied maybe frontal lobotomies could be performed on all non-essential personnel, basically everyone but the dictators themselves.  Nothing
would make despotic rulers happier then cracking the whips
over a million zombies with no thoughts or will of their own.  These zombies would be the perfect selfless, altruistic subjects.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

Offline

#22 2002-07-22 10:35:59

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

We are talking about a HUMAN colony, after  all; with all that that entails.

I find it facinating that part of the Human to Mars argument is predicated on starting something new, yet when confronted with the reality of "something new", there is almost instant revulsion and declarations that it HAS to be "this" way or "that"way becuase that's the way we are and it "ain't ever gonna change!".

Do any of you see this?

Calls for a new government for Mars, why? It seems most here operate from the asumption that humans will be the same On mars as on Earth- so why bother? After all, thousands of years of terran history has shown us what we can and can't do becuase we just won't change.

Why bother with space if we accept that we will not change?

Offline

#23 2002-07-22 11:43:07

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Why bother with space if we accept that we will not change?

IMHO, people are malleable and amenable to change. Perhaps more so than the vast majority of species.

However, that ability to change is not infinite nor do we have as much control over our ability to self direct change as we might wish to have.

Can we turn lead into gold, wolves into sheep, swords into plowshares and banish addictions in favor of sobriety?

In the long run, YES, as always IMHO.

But I envision this being a really long timescale. In the meantime, we must accept current human nature as it is and the limits it imposes on creating made to order people to fulfill one or another social agenda.

This is where I may personally deviate from Rousseau and Plato. All societies shape and mold the character and nature of their citizens - some with more forethought and others with less. To declare such "shaping" wrong ignores reality.

Should we teach "intelligent design" in American schools? Whichever way we answer that question, we shape and mold our citizens.

A just society can and should seek to shape its citizens into people who better advance the social interest. But, be aware of unintended consequences and be aware of the limitations of perspective that will assuredly plague any who attempt such undertakings.

As Hippocrates said - A doctor must first do no harm.

Entering space will change humanity. Maybe not as quickly as I - or others - would wish, but it will change humanity.

Being in space turns engineers into poets and makes hardened fighter pilots weep with joy and awe. These changes will take many generations to affect all humanity, but so what?

My life may be brief - the duration of our species may be brief - and changes in human nature may seem glacial to our fleeting perspectives - but from the perspective of geology, the human capacity to change is astonishing.

We just can't over do it.

Offline

#24 2002-07-22 12:47:54

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Thank you for the thoughtful reply Bill.

My argument is not formed on the basis of molding people into better people, or into a certain type of person. My argument was, and still is, based on the enviornmental constraints imposed by living in a plastic bubble in vacum.

Will there be saftey procedures for the multi-billion dollar investment neccessary to support human life?  yes, I am willing to bet that there will be double, triple, and in some cases, quadruple redundancy.

Will most people that go to Mars be screened physicaly and psychologicaly? Of that I have no doubt- I'm sure Mars will be populated with nothing but the best and the brightest, leaving the less then best to muddle here on planet Earth.

Does any of this negate the reality of depending on advanced machinery to live? No.
Does any of this answer to the increased, and UNNECCESSARY risk inherent in allowing unfettered drug consumption on a Martian Base? No.
Does any of this establish why an individual should be allowed to conduct themselevs in a certain way which may jepordize everyone else? No.

I made an analogy to a plane for a reason, when you fly in a plane, you and everyone else is dependant upon the machine to keep you alive (while in the air). You, and everyone else are also dependant upon the pilots who have the skill to operate the machine you and everyone else depend on (while in the air). You are also dependant upon the mechanics who maintain that aircraft- and countless others who make sure that the machine will work. Now, how comfortable would you be on a plane that allowed for unfettered drug use- or say just some wine, to all the people on the plane, and all the people who maintain or operate the plane?

Air rage from alcohol does happen. It only takes one person folks. A plane, and a martian base are very similar in these repects.

Again, I am not advocating social policies to create a certain type of person- I am advocating common sense dictated by REALITY.

Yes, it would be nice if we all could go get high on mars- drunk or whatever it is you like to use- but that desire is not practical under the circumstances. You getting drunk in your own house isn't likely to kill me, you getting drunk on Mars might.

And Bill, Rosseau WOULD agree with your sentiment on society shaping people- Social contract- he states that is the role of leaders, however, if they try to change them too much, they risk breaking the bond (abbreviated explanation, horrible...)

Offline

#25 2002-07-23 01:30:07

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Drugs... - Yes or No?

Am I allowed to say I agree with both Bill and Clark, at least to some extent?
   Clark's logic is inescapable and it's almost impossible to argue coherently against what he says. Bill's wise pragmatism, on the other hand, is probably a realistic way of looking at the situation.
   Maybe the potheads, drunks and other assorted misfits will save us a lot of trouble. Maybe they'll open airlock outer doors, having forgotten to put their suits on! Or perhaps they'll go for long walks and fall asleep in their suits .... failing to wake up when the air runs out!
   There must be a thousand ways an intoxicated person can kill him/herself on Mars without endangering the rest of the colony.
                                           ???


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB